This article, about volunteers discovering a second body in two weeks during their search for a missing Kansas City, Missouri woman, reminded me of the Maranda Goldman case. Maranda Goldman, from rural Pine Bluff, Arkansas, disappeared on October 8, 2015. Thirty-two days later, a hiker found her body in the woods on the east side of town.
Last I heard, autopsy results were still pending as of December 2015. At the end of February 2016, the Pine Bluff Police Department officially ruled her death a homicide, although, incredibly, the Arkansas State Crime Lab was not able to determine a cause of death. Police say the case has gone cold.
Sandy Goldman, her mother, implied assailants possibly kidnapped and murdered her to keep her quiet about some kind of criminal activity. “[Maranda] had been in with a bad group of people,” she told the Huffington Post. “They thought she had turned as a snitch, so she was really scared for her life.”
“I don’t know if that had anything to do with what happened to her, but she didn’t just end up in a field for no reason,” Goldman later told the Huffington Post.
In 2009, Pine Bluff was ranked by Morgan Quitno Press as the most dangerous metropolitan area in the US and included on the Forbes list of America’s ten most impoverished cities. As of the 2000 census, the city was 75.6 percent African American and 22 percent Caucasian. Since 2014, the crime rate has declined significantly. Over 20 percent of families and 37 percent of children live below the poverty line.
Around 4:30 pm, Maranda Goldman left the Goodwill after purchasing a belt and a pair of pants and headed for her car. She told her family the interview went well, but later, Goodwill employees claimed the interview never happened.
Concerned family members found Maranda’s car in the Goodwill parking lot. After several days without hearing from her daughter, Sandy Goldman knew something was wrong. “It’s been over four days, going on five, I’ve never went one day without Maranda contacting me,” she told KTHV. “No matter what kind of trouble or anything that she was in, good, bad or ugly, she always contacted me.”
On November 10, police received an anonymous tip that a body had been discovered in a wooded area northeast of the intersection of 38th and Ohio streets. At around 8:30am, police found the decomposed body of a Caucasian female in the woods. The crime scene is approximately 2.4 miles from the Goodwill parking lot.
Because of decomposition, the body could not be immediately identified and had to be sent to the state crime lab for positive identification. Police told KTHV there was no obvious indication of how she died.
Whenever a group of people are involved in a murder, it is difficult for all of them to keep quiet. Eventually, someone usually spills the beans to a friend or family member. In this case, however, apparently the trail has gone completely cold after fifteen months. If it was gang related, was murdering Maranda enough to scare the others into silence? A lone perpetrator would be more difficult to track down. Hopefully someone will come forward with information soon.