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Wanted Mississippi woman caught in Longview

By by Peggy Jones
Oct. 25, 2012 at 10 p.m.

A Mississippi woman accused of faking her own kidnapping to cover up an embezzlement scheme was captured Thursday in Longview.

Linda Gale Reed, 66, was nabbed about 7:30 a.m. when she left her house in the Pine Tree area.

Reed had last been seen April 29 at a Walmart in Hazlehurst, Miss., about 20 miles south of Jackson. She was presumed kidnapped or killed after her SUV was found abandoned on a logging road off Interstate 55 with her purse, cellphone and keys still inside, said Copiah County, Miss., Sheriff Harold Jones.

During the months following her disappearance, crews used all-terrain vehicles, search dogs and horses to look for her.

"We changed her from missing to wanted two weeks ago," Jones said. "That opened up a lot of things, a lot of avenues for people to help us that way."

He said he had doubts about the abduction theory from Day 1 of the investigation.

"From the start, something just didn't add up," Jones said. "I mean, we're not CSI or anything, but we've all done our jobs long enough to know when a crime scene just doesn't add up."

The sheriff said Reed worked as a bookkeeper for Moore Fabrications in Gallman, Miss., where a forensic audit revealed more than $20,000 missing from the company's funds.

Jones said Reed had worked for the fabrication company since 1999 and had access to the petty cash.

He said she was working in Longview as a bookkeeper at the time of her arrest but declined to disclose her place of employment.

Jones said Reed was using her real name and Social Security number here.

He said deputies had Reed's home on Timberline Drive under surveillance, and Gregg County deputies made the arrest on the Mississippi warrant when she left the house - presumably driving to her job.

Gregg County Sheriff's Lt. Kirk Haddix confirmed the department's role was to assist the Mississippi investigation.

"He researched it and found her." Haddix said. "We assisted."

Reed was driving a Ford Taurus with a Mississippi license plate when she was stopped, Jones said.

How the fugitive was able to buy the car is something Jones said he intends to find out.

"If we learn she had help, whoever helped her will be prosecuted," he said.

Reed was returned to Copiah County on Thursday and is facing felony embezzlement charges. Members of her family have said they still believe she was abducted.



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