In 1998, Lina Reyes-Geddes was found dead near Maidenwater Spring in Garfield County, Utah. After 24 years as a cold case, investigators say they used DNA techniques to identify her husband, Edward Geddes, as her murderer.
“After 24 years, this case has finally reached a conclusion that will bring closure to the family of Lina Reyes Geddes,” a press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety reported.
On April 20, 1998, investigators found the body by the side of a road 38 miles north of Lake Powell wrapped in duct tape, a sleeping bag, a carpet and tied with rope. In 2018, the woman was identified by DNA as Lina Reyes-Geddes after being matched to a photo of a missing person from Youngstown, Ohio. Reyes-Geddes had last been seen on April 8, 1998.
While authorities identified Reyes-Geddes’ husband as a person of interest, the police investigation was stalled until DNA technology evolved to recover evidence from the rope Reyes-Geddes had been bound with.
Beginning in 2019, police officials turned to M-VAC DNA technology, which is able to recover evidence from items difficult to traditionally swab for DNA.
“As you can imagine, in a case like this where we have a rope our victim was bound with, you can see the challenge swabbing that would present,” said Agent Brian Davis of the Utah State Bureau of Investigation.
Initial results using the M-VAC method found DNA evidence from three males. After identifying and ruling out the other men, “the only DNA that was left on that rope was Edward Geddes,” said Davis.
Geddes died in Nevada in 2011, reportedly by suicide.
“He is the only one believed to be involved in her death,” stated Davis on a press call on June 29, stating that if Geddes was alive, charges would now be leveled against him.
How did the woman end up off a rural road in southern Utah?
“We can only speculate about how she got there,” said Davis, but reported that interviews done in Ohio found that after Reyes-Geddes disappearance, her husband left in his minivan for four days saying that he was driving to Texas to look for her.
Convicted serial killer Scott Kimble had been a possible suspect after confessing to the crime, but was ruled out by investigators.
Utah has over 450 cold cases, which are archived at bci.utah.gov/coldcases. The Utah Cold Case Tip Hotline can be reached at 833-DPS-SAFE (833-377-7233)