She was a 29-year-old Garland County deputy sheriff when she disappeared one Saturday night, and her car was found on a road outside Hot Springs the next morning. But her remains weren’t found until the following Feb. 12 on Jack Mountain, a rugged area about 8 miles from her car and in Hot Spring County. An autopsy showed that she died from multiple blows to the head, a homicide. No murder weapon was ever found, nor were her purse, her deputy’s badge or identification card.

That summer a first-degree murder charge was filed against a Hot Springs Police Department narcotics officer, Thurman Abernathy, with whom she’d had an affair that allegedly resulted in a pregnancy. But over the next two years the case, built almost exclusively on hearsay, including what Linda told friends, and circumstantial evidence, fell apart. The charge was dropped, and then the case was submitted to a grand jury, which returned no indictment.

More than 38 years later, the case officially remains open but unsolved.

Mike Fletcher was a young investigator for the Arkansas State Police in 1976, when he was assigned to investigate the disappearance of Linda Edwards, a Garland County deputy sheriff.

Toby Edwards, the deputy’s son, was just 6 the next year when wolf hunters found his mother’s partially buried remains scattered on a wooded hillside several miles south of Hot Springs.

Toby was a cynic by 7. That’s when Lt. Thurman Abernathy, the chief narcotics officer for the Hot Springs Police Department, was charged with Linda Edwards’ murder. The following year, Toby’s mistrust became set in stone when the murder charge against Abernathy was dropped.