Buried in the Backyard is examing the murder of Linda Van Buskirk, who was shot dead by Ricky Lawrence Moore on a rural road near Three Rivers in St Joseph County, Michigan.
On March 26, 1985, Evelyn and Paul Jacobs became concerned when there was no sign of their 26-year-old daughter Linda. After speaking with neighbors, they contacted the police and reported her missing.
The detectives were puzzled and concerned by Linda’s disappearance. She was described as living an “exemplary life;” she didn’t drink alcohol or take drugs, and she was active in her church. There was no reason for Linda to be in trouble.
Linda’s parents told the detectives that their daughter enjoyed going for walks, and she had a very strict walking routine. She walked at the same time and took the same route every day. The cops were suddenly concerned that anyone who knew or had watched Linda would be able to follow this routine easily.
The police examined the route Linda usually took along a rural road surrounded by fields with scattered farmhouses. Some of Linda’s neighbors reported seeing her walking by on the day she disappeared, but they had seen nothing suspicious.
Finally, there was a breakthrough when speaking to a homeowner about a mile and a half from Linda’s house; a man said his ten-year-old son had heard gunshots on the day she vanished.
10-year-old boy helped solve the Linda Van Buskirk murder
The detectives interviewed the boy, Frank “Todd” Terrell, who said he’d heard the gunshots while playing in the yard. Todd had then climbed to the top of a nearby hill from where he had a clear view of an intersection. The boy said he saw a man dragging something across the road, which he then put into the trunk of a dark-colored hatchback.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
Todd said he thought the object may have been a deer. However, the alarm bells rang in the detectives’ heads when they realized it wasn’t deer hunting season. They were convinced that Todd had seen the killer while disposing of Linda’s remains.
The young witness had heard the shots and seen the man at about 4 o clock in the afternoon, which correlated with the time Linda had disappeared. Young Todd became instrumental in the investigation and identifying the killer.
Ricky Moore guilty of killing Linda Van Buskirk
Eventually, the cops zeroed in on a former auxiliary police officer called Rick Lawrence Moore. The 24-year-old killer was put on trial, and after a week, he was found guilty of murder.
In May 1986, he was sentenced to life in prison. He is currently held at the Muskegon Correctional Facility.
Buried in the Backyard airs Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.