Missouri man indicted for murder 31 years after he is questioned by police

A Missouri man who was grilled by police after the 1988 murder of a 31-year-old woman has been indicted in the cold case slay 31 years later.

Lawrence Timmons was being held in the Lawrence County Jail on $250,000 bond in connection with the death of Cynthia Smith. The sheriff’s office reopened the case after being contacted by a private investigation firm that had apparently collected new evidence.

Smith’s body was found near a cemetery after she was last seen leaving a bar in Mount Vernon on July 28, 1988.

“I think it used to be called Checker’s,” Peddie Ormsby, a former colleague of Smith’s, told the News-Leader newspaper. “It was a bar, it used to be a bowling alley and a bar. Cindi left with somebody they did not know. She just didn’t come back the next day to check on her boys. She would never leave her boys overnight without checking on them.”

The 65-year-old Timmons, a Pierce City resident, was interrogated later that summer, but charges were not brought, according to the News-Leader. Multiple people were brought in for questioning.

“After several months of ongoing investigations, information was turned over to the Lawrence County prosecutor, who presented the information to a grand jury,” the sheriff’s office said. “After receiving the information, the grand jury issued the indictment on Timmons.”

The Rochester Democrat Chronicle reported Saturday that according to Missouri investigators, Oklahoma police have reopened investigations into two homicides: the 1994 murder of his first wife and the 1998 drowning death of an 11-year-old girl.

“We call him an opportunist,” Lawrence County Sgt. Melissa Phillips told the paper. “He does not target on sex or age. He has little boys in his past. He has little girls in his past. He has women in his past.”

Investigators found Smith’s body 10 days after she was last seen leaving a Pierce City bar with an unknown man, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

She went to the bar after leaving her two sons, 8 and 4, with a babysitter who was the one who reported her missing, according to the paper.

KYTV reported that Timmons was arrested on a forgery charge last month after being charged with gaining employment to sell alcohol and lottery tickets despite being a felon.

He served three years behind bars for the felony kidnapping of an 11-year-old boy in 1976 who he also tried to drown in a cooler of water. The boy escaped and alerted police.

Since the forgery arrest Timmons has been locked up in lieu of $250,000 bond.

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