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April 27, 2012

Ohio River search called off

Current too strong; LMPD sergeant says nothing significant found in the area

NEW ALBANY — Divers with the Louisville Metro Police Department called off their search of the Ohio River, just west of the Sherman Minton Bridge in New Albany, at about 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Sgt. John Payne with LMPD said a swift current and high water forced divers out of the water.

“River conditions are just too tough right now,” he said.

He said there were no plans for the search to continue Saturday. He said it would be up to “higher command” whether divers would be back in the water Monday.

Police have been searching the area since Wednesday following recent murder charges filed against William Clyde Gibson III, 54. Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said Gibson implicated himself during questioning in the recent murder of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, of Clarksville, and 45-year-old Karen Hodella, of Jeffersonville, who was murdered in 2002. An officer at the scene Wednesday said Gibson made statements about other possible victims, but officials are not sure what is the truth and what is a lie.

Payne would not speak about specifics with any case. However, he said nothing significant was found in the area being searched.

“I am confident there is nothing in the water in the area we searched,” he said.

He said divers discovered animal bones and rocks with different messages written on them, but that was it.

He said searching the Ohio River is “pretty difficult.”

“Current plays a factor in it,” he said. “That is why the point of entry is significant for us. That gives us a better chance to find something.

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