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Cops Say Husband Killed The 'Maidenwater Victim' Once Linked To Serial Killer

Officials in Utah say they no longer believe Lina Reyes-Geddes was a victim of Colorado serial killer Scott Kimball. Instead, they believe the victim's husband was the man who shot her, cut off her fingertips and left her on the side of a Utah highway in 1998. 

A police handout of Edward Geddes and Lina Reyes

The mystery of who killed a woman whose identity remained unknown for two decades is finally over, according to Utah officials.

More than 24 years have passed since a body — now known to be that of Lina Reyes-Geddes, 37 — was found.

Officials found the then-unidentified woman's corpse on the side of Highway 276 near Maidenwater Spring in southern Garfield County, Utah on April 20, 1998, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. The victim —  who became known as the “Maidenwater Victim ” — appeared to be 37 to 45 years old, but otherwise, there were but few clues for investigators to use to determine who she was.

She was ultimately identified in 2018, after the Utah State Bureau of Investigation published a photo of their Jane Doe.

“Almost simultaneous to their release, the Youngstown, Ohio Police Department also released a photo in connection with a missing person’s case that dated back to April 1998,” officials said. “Those two pictures helped connect these cases and ultimately led to the victim’s identification.”

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a private citizen in California connected the two cases because Reyes-Geddes and the “Maidenwater Victim” both had a mole in their ear.

A police handout of Lina Reyes

Ohio investigators said that Reyes-Geddes disappeared after leaving Youngstown with plans to fly from Dallas to Mexico, where her family lived. 

Her sister’s DNA confirmed that the body discovered in 1998 was that of Reyes-Geddes.

Officials said Wednesday that they now believe Eddie Geddes, the victim’s husband, is the man responsible for her violent murder, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Edward Geddes died by suicide in Nevada in 2001, the Deseret News reported.

Reyes-Geddes’ family in Mexico said they suspected the husband all along.

“Quite frankly, [Reyes-Geddes’] family thought that Edward had done something to her,” said Agent Brian Davis of the Utah Department of Public Safety. “That was always their hunch.”

Police, however, initially had other hunches.

When Reyes-Geddes' body was first discovered, authorities with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah State Bureau of Investigation found her bound with duct tape, tied with rope, covered in plastic bags, placed in a sleeping bag and finally wrapped inside a children's rug. She'd died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Tribune.

In addition, investigative records obtained by the Tribune said “The ends of the thumbs and all the fingers had been cut off at a right angle."

In 2017, before she was identified, officials with the Department of Public Safety announced that their sole suspect in the Maidenwater Victim case was Scott Lee Kimball, a serial killer who is still serving a 70-year sentence imposed by the state of Colorado for the murders of three women and his uncle. Kimball killed those victims between 2003 and 2004, and three of them were found in remote areas of Colorado and Utah, according to a probable cause affidavit. (The remains of the fourth person have never been recovered.)

Agents received a warrant for Kimball’s DNA in 2017 after noting similarities between Kimball's victims and the “Maidenwater Victim,” including how Kimball had wrapped his victims and his alleged ability to “tie various types of complex knots.” Kimball had allegedly also confessed to killing a hitchhiker 10 miles from where the body was found in 1998 or 1999 on a way to a family reunion in nearby Bryce Canyon.

Kimball’s former wife and son also made statements alleging they saw Kimball purchase a rug similar to the one used to wrap Reyes-Geddes' body.

A two-hour “Dateline” episode in 2018 covered the alleged connections between Scott “Hannibal” Kimball and the “Maidenwater Victim.”

Kimball's DNA, however, didn't match that which was found at the crime scene. And, after Reyes-Geddes' body was identified, acquaintances from her life in Ohio came forward with what Utah DPS Agent Davis called "red flags," according to the Tribune, making her husband a suspect.

In 2019, advanced scientific methods were used to extract trace DNA from the rope tied around Reyes-Geddes and it produced two samples, according to Deseret News. One was eventually linked to a knot expert who accidentally contaminated the evidence, according to the Tribune. But the other, unknown male sample was impossible to compare directly to Eddie Geddes, because he had been cremated after his suicide.

With the help of Pure Gold Forensics, however, familial matches linked Eddie Geddes to the rope used on his wife's mutilated and discarded body.

“I felt like for 20 years, no one would listen to me,” said Reyes-Geddes’ sister, who praised investigators and traveled to Utah to visit her sister’s resting place.

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