Police identify victim in 20 year-old murder investigation

Nov 29, 2018, 6:48 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm
(Utah State Bureau of Investigations)
(Utah State Bureau of Investigations)

DPS HEADQUARTERS – It’s a major step in a murder investigation from 20 years ago.  Police know who their Jane Doe is, but they haven’t fully determined who killed her.

The “Maidenwater victim” was found in Garfield County in 1998.  Investigators say she was shot in the head and her body was wrapped in a carpet and a sleeping bag, then left near Ticaboo.

In October of this year, the State Bureau of Investigations released a picture of the woman, asking for help in identifying her.  Luckily, a detective in Youngstown, Ohio, was uploading pictures of missing people to a national missing persons database around that time.

Agent Brian Davis says, “That photo went in there, basically, the same week that we did the release here.  It was some really good timing on our part.  Some planets aligned.”

Officers then got a tip saying the photo of the deceased seemed to match that of Lina Reyes-Geddes, from Youngstown.

“We immediately shared information on what we knew and what they knew.  We compared photos.  We compared notes and we became more confident that this could, in fact, be our victim’s identification,” Davis says.

Family members came in from Mexico to give DNA samples, and tests confirmed their victim was Reyes-Geddes.  Davis says they had done DNA tests on her before, but they didn’t have any known relatives to compare their samples with.

“It was always a frustration to us that we couldn’t do that.  As reported last time, her fingertips had been removed, so there were no fingerprints to compare to a database,” Davis says.

The main focus in the case is Scott “Hannibal” Kimball, who is already serving 70 years in prison for the murders of four people.  However, Davis says they can’t conclusively prove Kimball is her killer.

“At this time, the evidence is circumstantial for Scott Kimball.  That hasn’t changed,” he adds.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office had posted a statement on Facebook, saying another suspect had killed himself in the early 2000s.  That man was identified as Reyes-Geddes’ husband, but, Davis says he was not considered a suspect.  Davis wouldn’t even describe him as a person of interest.

There are still a lot of questions investigators have about the murder.  For instance, they don’t know how she arrived in Utah.  Her family had said she flew from Pittsburgh to Texas, and was supposed to cross into Mexico.

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Police identify victim in 20 year-old murder investigation