Police are working on tracking the steps of a New Albany man, charged in two murders and connected to a third.
William Clyde Gibson III, 54, has been charged with the murders of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, of Clarksville, and 45-year-old Karen Hodella, whose family said she is from Florida and was visiting Jeffersonville at the time of her death. Whitis was found strangled in Gibson’s garage April 19. Hodella’s body was found in a wooded area near the Ohio River in January 2003. She had been missing since October 2002. The body of Stephanie Kirk, 35, of Charlestown, was found buried in Gibson’s backyard in the 800 block of Woodbourne Drive, in New Albany, on April 27. She had been missing since March 25. Prosecutor Keith Henderson has not yet filed charges against Gibson on the third victim.
“We’re trying to track his timeline at least for the last decade,” said Maj. Keith Whitlow, with the New Albany Police Department. “Things like employment and travels and anything like that that would put him in another location besides New Albany, Indiana, we’re looking at that.”
Gibson’s incarceration history in Indiana and Kentucky shows he spent a lot of time behind bars for various crimes, including sexual assault, auto theft, possession of stolen property and more. However, there are many weeks, months and, in some cases, years between charges. For example, Hodella went missing in October 2002. Gibson was free at that time, but was arrested on Nov. 1, 2002. His last arrest, prior to being arrested in connection to the murders, was on March 6, 2007. He was released on Sept. 8, 2009.
Police haven’t released any information on additional victims since Kirk’s body was found. However, Whitlow said they are still investigating.
“We’re going to make sure this thing is thoroughly investigated and if there is any more victims out there, we can discover them,” he said.
When asked if Gibson is being taken out of the jail to help in the investigation, he said he could not say. Floyd County Jail officials said they could not reveal if Gibson has been in the facility 24-7.
“We’re going to do everything morally, legally and ethically possible to investigate this case and determine if any other crimes have been committed,” Whitlow said.
He said the FBI is helping the department with that effort, by connecting them to a databank on missing persons and recovered remains. However, he said that the rumor that Gibson may be connected to Lauren Spierer, an Indiana University student who disappeared in June of 2011, is purely “media speculation.” He added that it would be remiss of the department to not investigate every lead and every missing person in proximity to where Gibson could have been.
Investigators have been seen at Gibson’s home, using technology to scan what could possibly be located underground. They have also been searching inside his home, loading many items, including a couch, end tables and more, to a large storage trailer, parked in the driveway. Until recently, an officer has been keeping watch on the property. On Thursday, citizens were seen crossing the police tape to take a closer look at the home and backyard.
“That was an unexpected event that people would actually start going onto the property,” Whitlow said. “We’re going to re-evaluate and possibly put someone out there to keep an eye out.”
Neighbor Susie Ledbetter said she can’t wait for police to be finished with the home, since so many people are making it a tourist location.
“It’s getting a little old,” she said.
She said Gibson was always friendly and would say hi, until around August 2011, when his mother was put in a nursing home. His mother died Jan. 18 of this year.
“He just quit talking to everybody and wouldn’t have anything to do with anybody around here,” she said.