Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Police Searching for Clues in Alleged Serial Killer’s Backyard

William "Clyde" Gibson. Police photo.

William “Clyde” Gibson III has been charged with two murders already. The body of a third woman was found buried in his backyard. On Friday, police continued their search for bodies at the Monroe County Airport.

The 54-year-old Gibson of New Albany, Indiana, was arrested last month and charged with the recent murder of 75-year-od Christine Whitis and the 2002 slaying of 44-year-old Karen Hodella. Gibson was captured after police found him driving Whitis’ car while intoxicated. A search of his home uncovered Whitis’ corpse. Gibson had been convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 1992, and was placed on the state’s sex-offender registry — but nothing he had done previously amounted to a crime as severe as murder.

Yet once in custody, Gibson gave police information of prior bad deeds. On April 28, investigators uncovered human remains buried in Gibson’s backyard. The body was identified as Stephanie Kirk, 35, who had been missing since March. The cause of death was determined as strangulation, but prosecutors have not yet charged Gibson with Kirk’s death. Last week, investigators returned to the backyard with cadaver dogs,but found no new evidence.

Stephanie Kirk. File photo.

Then last Friday, authorities searched a cornfield adjacent to the Monroe County Airport outside Bloomington. Police checked soil and took samples in an effort to find more bodies. According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Dept. Sgt. Brad Swain, Gibson had told them “there might be human remains up here, and we’re just giving it a good faith effort to try and find if this guy is providing an accurate statement.”

Police wouldn’t say exactly who they are looking for, nor would they comment on exactly how many people Gibson is thought to have killed. Maj. Keith Whitlow of the New Albany Police Dept. told the Courier Journal “Somewhere out there it’s possible that there are families that have missing loved ones and… we’re going to continue to follow it up as long as we believe it’s fruitful.”

As police continue searching for bodies and clues, Gibson’s rattled neighbors must get used to the idea that their quiet neighborhood won’t be settling down anytime soon. As neighbor Glenda Davis Eubanks told a local reporter: “A lot of people are still in shock that they are still searching, and whatever is going on down there, a lot of people still in shock, and it’s still scary.”

For now, Gibson remains in jail without bail. The current murder charges could carry a death sentence or life imprisonment, depending on how prosecutors decide to proceed with the case.

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