Murder of Linda Van Buskirk by Ricky Moore investigated on Buried in the Backyard

Mugshot of Ricky Moore
Ricky Lawrence Moore was sentenced to life in prison for killing Linda Van Buskirk. Pic credit: Michigan Dept. of Corrections

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.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 months ago

Why does her tomb stone on her grave say Linda Sue Jacobs and not Linda Van Buskirk, I get the married last name but why Van as the middle name? She was a beautiful lady so sad she was taken so soon.

5 months ago
Reply to  Billy

Because “Jacobs,” was Linda’s maiden name, and she was divorced from “Van Buskirk.”

2 months ago
Reply to  Billy

Van was not a middle name. Van Buskirk is a two word last name.

7 months ago

Just viewed the Buried in the Backyard doc about this tragic case. What a senseless act of spiteful malice! Never understand why so many creepy loser guys can’t deal with being turned down or rejected by women especially when this slob was clearly out of that young woman’s league. I hope her children were able to grow up to overcome this tragedy and thrive.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x