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


Lawrence Timmons is accused in the 1988 murder of Cynthia Smith. (Lawrence County Sheriff)

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.

At the time Timmons had already spent time behind bars for kidnapping and assault. Authorities believe Timmons may be responsible for at least two additional homicides, including the 1994 slaying of former wife Deborah Jean Timmons, according to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. He is also being looked at in the drowning death of an 11-year-old girl four years later.

“We call him an opportunist,” Sgt. Melissa Phillips of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office told the Democrat & Chronicle. “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.”

Timmons was already in jail on unrelated charges when the indictment was issued on Friday.