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N.C. Man Drives Across the Country to Confess a 1997 Murder, but What Prompted Him to Do It Might Surprise You

Matthew Gibson (Image source: WGHP-TV)

A North Carolina man turned himself into police in Arizona for a murder he says he committed more than a decade ago. But it's what caused him to confess after all these years that's so bizarre.

Matthew Gibson, 55, drove across the country from his home near Boone, North Carolina to Winslow, Arizona. When he got there, he told Detective Alicia Marquez of Winslow Police Department that he wanted to talk about a crime he said he committed in 1997.

Matthew Gibson (Image source: WGHP-TV) Matthew Gibson (Image source: WGHP-TV)

According to WGHP-TV, Gibson claimed he met a woman near Bullhead City, Arizona, late one evening. The two of them went back to Gibson's trailer where the woman became unsettled. When Gibson asked her to leave, she refused. That's when Gibson claims he beat her to death with a flashlight and then dumped her body into the Colorado River.

For seventeen years, Gibson didn't say a word. But when the 55-year-old began receiving voicemails and text messages from Walmart saying that a prescription was ready for Anita Townshed, Gibson became suspicious that someone else had discovered his secret. Gibson later received a Walmart advertisement in the mail but it didn't have a return name or address on it. Someone who knew his secret was taunting him, he thought.

Gibson then set out on a 1,600-mile journey to turn himself into police in Winslow, Arizona, a small town about 250 miles east of Bullhead City. But the identity of the woman Gibson claims to have killed wasn't the name of the woman contained in the voicemails and text messages he received from Walmart.

The name of the woman Gibson allegedly murdered was Barbara Brown Agnew, WGHP reported.

Ron Gilleo, Gibson's attorney, said police never would have found out had he not said anything. But Gibson insisted on pleading guilty to manslaughter and said he wanted to start a 10-year sentence right away.

Gibson "found religion" a few years before the voicemails and texts. He told Gilleo he "felt bad" and that his alleged crime had been "weighing on him."

"I thought he was a nice guy," Gilleo said.


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