Linda Watson's remains could point to her murderer

Linda Watson
Linda Watson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When Linda Watson was abducted from her west-side home back in August of 2000, detectives found blood in the house and obvious signs of a struggle.

But over the last twelve years we haven't really learned much more about Watson's mysterious disappearance.

That is, until this week, when the Pima County Sheriff's Department announced a bombshell  in the case.

"We have been informed through the DNA process that Miss Watson was positively identified," Captain Chris Nanos said.  "We did find her remains some time ago."

Sheriff's officials won't tell us where or when exactly, only that the discovery was made somewhere in Pima County.

Still, for an investigation that's been ice cold for more than a decade -- this is a significant break in the case.

"The main thing I want Tucson to know and the world to know... is we found Linda.  We found Linda!"

That's Pat Hinkle, Linda's Watson's aunt.

Ever since Linda went missing, Hinkle's had some very strong opinions about who did this to her.

Opinions that only got stronger when Linda's mother Marilyn Cox was gunned down in May, 2003.

"Anybody who would hide in bushes and jump up in front of two little grandmas that were defenseless and shoot them, that's pretty low in my book," Hinkle told KOLD News 13 in 2003.

You see, not only was Marilyn Cox Linda Watson's mother -- she was Pat Hinkle's sister.

And before Cox was murdered, she told her sister and her attorney that she too could end up dead.

"In this February 9, 2003 email, she said, 'I just want you to be aware that if I should disappear, it won't be of my own choosing,' " Tucson attorney Dennis Gray told KOLD in 2003, reading from the  email Marilyn Cox sent him prior being murdered.

Less than three months later, Marilyn Cox and her friend Renee Farnsworth were shot to death in front of their homes.

Was it just a coincidence?

Or did Marilyn Cox pay the ultimate price for knowing too much about what happened to her daughter?

From the very beginning, the sheriff's department identified Watson's ex-husband and an ex-boy-friend as primary suspects.

While they're not providing any specifics, that is still the case today.

"We've not eliminated anyone as far as suspects go, so yes--to answer your question...if they were suspects then, they're still suspects," Captain Nanos said.

"Of course they're not telling me everything, but I'm hoping that since they did find her that there was some sort of evidence there that points to the perpetrator that did this," Pat Hinkle says, shaking her head.

Captain Nanos agrees saying, "When we have a body, there's a lot of science that can tell us about the cause of death, the timing of the death ... so yes, it opens up a lot of different avenues for us to look at."

"Ultimately after this much time I just want to see Linda put to rest," Hinkle said.  "I want that chapter of our life closed.  Whether they get the person who did this or not, I don't know.  I want to see justice, but if they don't, it's not going to bring her back."

Keep in mind, no arrests have been made in Linda Watson's case or the murders of Marilyn Cox and Renee Farnsworth.

Though that could change ... with what is easily the biggest break in either case.

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