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April 26, 2012

Day two: Search for bodies continues in Ohio River

Police: Accused says there are more victims

NEW ALBANY — Officers with various agencies combed the Indiana riverbank and divers searched the water of the Ohio River just west of the Sherman Minton Bridge on Thursday.

This search comes after the recent murder charges filed against William Clyde Gibson III, 54. 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 said Gibson made statements about other possible victims, but officials are not sure what is the truth and what is a lie.

Maj. Donnie Bowyer with the Clark County Sheriff’s Department told WAVE-TV that Gibson specifically referred to Stephanie Kirk, a Clark County woman who disappeared March 25. New Albany Police Department Maj. Keith Whitlow said he could not confirm nor deny if the search is related to Gibson.

“We will continue to search and collect evidence in this case as long as we see it is a fruitful endeavor,” he said.

On Wednesday, officials searched a larger portion of the river with multiple cadaver dogs.

Henderson said Whitis had been strangled. He said she was found inside Gibson’s New Albany home, near University Woods Apartments.

He said Hodella was also murdered in that area, but not in the home. Hodella was found in a wooded area along the Ohio River, he said. Her cause of death is not known, due to the condition of her body when it was found.

If convicted, Gibson faces 45 to 65 years in prison for each murder charge and an additional 30 years for the habitual offender charge.

Gibson has previously been convicted of the following felonies: second degree assault; first degree wanton endangerment; second degree robbery; first degree sexual abuse; receiving stolen auto parts; auto theft (two cases); receiving stolen property (two cases); and theft.

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Theater students rehearse a scene from "Seussical the Musical," directed by Silver Creek Theater Director, Alonzo Richmond, and New Albany Theater Director Amy Harpenau at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater Thursday evening. The musical includes around 70 students from 12 local schools that will be performing Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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