CRIME

Investigators close the Maidenwater cold case

Jun 29, 2022, 2:06 PM | Updated: 7:28 pm

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah – After 24 years, a family in Mexico finally knows who killed their loved one and left her body on the side of the road in southern Utah.

This case came together after two decades not only because of advanced DNA technology but also because of collaboration between investigators here in Utah and Ohio, and some luck.

“It was just a really, really tough case to work,” said Agent Brian Davis with the Utah State Bureau of Investigation.

On April 20, 1998, a woman’s body was found along SR 276 near Maidenwater Spring, about 30 miles north of Lake Powell. The body was bound with rope, and wrapped in carpet. Despite an exhaustive investigation, the woman was not identified, and the case went cold.

“These things take time, they take money, and they take effort,” Davis said.

Two decades later, the FBI Agent said they got a big break after releasing a photo of the victim. At about the same time, police in Youngstown, Ohio released a photo from a missing person’s case from April 1998. Those pictures connected the cases.

“Once this identification was made, it was a major break for us obviously in the case,” Davis said.

Using DNA from the victim’s family members, who traveled to Utah from Mexico, investigators confirmed her identity as Lina Reyes Geddes of Youngstown.

Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS)

They still didn’t know who killed her, or how she ended up in Utah. But, people in Youngstown knew Lina and talked with investigators.

“They gave us some very interesting information regarding Lina, and her husband at the time, Edward Geddes,” said Agent David.

The information that investigators in Youngstown and Utah learned from those individuals raised red flags about Edward Geddes. But, they provided no proof.

Going back to the evidence, they used updated techniques in Utah to collect DNA from the rope that bound Lina, and it matched her husband, Edward Geddes, who died in 2001.

Edward Geddes and Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS)

“He’s the only one believed to be involved in her death,” said Davis. “If Edward Geddes were still alive, we would pursue charges of homicide in connection with her death.”

“We were always focused on moving this case forward. And I just want to thank him for his professionalism and leadership, ” Detective David Sweeney, with the Youngstown, Ohio Police Department.

Agent Davis calls this the most satisfying conclusion to a case in his career.

“It feels really good to see this kind of closure in this case. To me, it’s very fulfilling,” he said.

They still don’t know exactly how Lina Reyes Geddes ended up in Utah. They speculate that her husband dumped the body in Utah because he had no connections here and would not be suspected.

Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS) Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS) Edward Geddes and Lina Reyes Geddes Wedding photo (Credit: Utah DPS) Edward Geddes and Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS) Edward Geddes and Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS)
Lucero Reyes visits Utah after DNA confirms her sister Lina Reyes Geddes identity. (Credit: Utah DPS) Lucero Reyes meets with investigators.
(Credit: Utah DPS) 2018 Press Conference in the identification of Lina Reyes Geddes (Credit: Utah DPS) Lucero Reyes participates with investigators in 2019.(Credit: Utah DPS) Lucero Reyes 2019 visit to Utah (Credit: Utah DPS) Lucero Reyes 2019 visit to Utah (Credit: Utah DPS)
Lucero Reyes visits her sister’s grave
(Credit: Utah DPS) Lucero Reyes 2019 visits her sister’s grave and prepares to take her home.
(Credit: Utah DPS)

If you wish to see the full press release from officials and video interviews, you can look at DPS’s website or YouTube.

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Investigators close the Maidenwater cold case