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Last updated on Sunday, April 29, 2012
(NEW ALBANY) - Police said Saturday that human remains found in a southern Indiana man’s backyard have been identified as a woman who has been missing for about a month.
New Albany police Maj. Keith Whitlow said the remains found in William "Clyde" Gibson's backyard Friday night are those of Stephanie Marie Kirk, a 35-year-old Charlestown woman. Kirk was last seen March 25, when she left a friend's home in New Albany to meet a man at a bar.
Medical examiners in Jefferson County, Ky., used dental records and other means to identify the remains, Whitlow said in a statement provided to The Associated Press by WDRB-TV in Louisville, Ky. Medical examiners are still determining the exact cause of Kirk's death, Whitlow said. He did not return repeated phone calls from The AP on Saturday.
Gibson is being held without bond at the Floyd County Jail in connection with the death last week of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, of Clarksville, and the death of 44-year-old Florida hairdresser Karen Hodella, whose body was found near the Ohio River in Clarksville in 2003.
Gibson was arrested on drunken driving charges last week after police spotted him driving Whitis' car.
Whitlow said Gibson had been charged with murder in Floyd County court, but a county jail officer said there was no record of formal charges. The officer also said he didn't know if Gibson had a lawyer.
Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson didn't reply to a phone message left at his office Saturday. An attempt to reach him at home was unsuccessful.
Gibson carries a lengthy criminal record.
The Courier-Journal reported he was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery and sexual abuse in a 1991 attack on a woman at a mall in downtown Louisville. Court records show he fondled her and stole her purse after pushing her into a phone booth, and later he said he had been drinking and using cocaine.
Court records show he had arrests for assault, wanton endangerment and driving drunk.
In 1992, Gibson told a psychologist that "it's hard to predict what I might do," when he drinks heavily, records said.
But in 1999, a psychologist found Gibson was at "low risk" for being arrested again as a sex offender.
This week, prosecutors also charged Gibson with being a habitual offender, listing convictions on 10 charges in eight cases between 1992 and 2007.
The Courier-Journal reported Gibson was discharged from the Army for bad conduct in 1979 and had spent a year in the military prison at Leavenworth, Kan.
Court records also describe Gibson as a well-liked, "extremely shy" person who didn't know how to respond when introduced to people. They said he had borderline intelligence and was emotionally immature, The Courier-Journal said.
Michelle Rucker, Hodella's oldest daughter, said Friday that her mother had been in Indiana visiting her boyfriend's family for less than a day when she called her family in Florida and asked for money for a bus ride home. She told her family that a "nice man" was buying her drinks at a bar, Rucker said.
"We never heard from her again," Rucker said. "She was in Indiana one night and was missing the next day."
Rucker said the latest developments had reopened old wounds.
"My family is a train wreck," she said.
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