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Crime Trackers: Linda Watson cold case update - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Linda Watson cold case update

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Linda Watson's remains were found near the Silverbell Mine area. Someone traveled 30 miles to bring her their from her westside home where she disappeared in 2000. Linda Watson's remains were found near the Silverbell Mine area. Someone traveled 30 miles to bring her their from her westside home where she disappeared in 2000.

TUCSON- It's been nearly three weeks since the Pima County Sheriff's Cold Case unit arrested the ex-husband of Linda Watson, David Watson.  David is now charged, not only with Linda's murder, but the killings of her mother and a neighbor. It's a case that took long to unravel.

Linda Watson's remains were found near the Silverbell Mine area. Someone traveled 30 miles to bring her their from her westside home where she disappeared in 2000.

Mark O'Dell is one of the detectives working the Cold Case. He's familiar with the area he worked as a patrol deputy. 

“It's a heavily trafficked area pathway for a lot of migrants trying to make their way north to Phoenix.”

News 4 Tucson obtained the autopsy report on Linda Watson. It says, in 2003, hunters found a skull near the Silverbell Mine.

Detective O'Dell said, “During our initial investigation in 2000, there were several items that were taken that would assist us in obtaining a DNA profile for Linda Watson. “

In 2009, a bone sample was sent to the University of North Texas in Ft. Worth. Two years later, the remains were determined to be those of Linda Watson.

Detectives, plus Search and Rescue and volunteers, returned to the Silverbell Mine area.

“In 2011 when we discovered it was Linda Watson we wanted a more elaborate search of the desert area to locate, or possibly locate more remains,” O'Dell added.

The detective didn't reveal what their search uncovered.

But, in January 2012 for further confirmation, they exhumed the skull from the Pima County Cemetery where it had been buried for almost a decade.

The report was clear: it was a homicide. But how Linda Watson died was still undetermined.

Carol Gaxiola is close to the family. She said, rationally, they suspected something terrible had happened to Linda. 

“There's always that little bit of hope," said Gaxiola.  "And then to find out that she was found all those years and all those years of wondering and worrying what a burden.”

So why did it take nearly a decade to identify her remains?

“Volume, funding and technology, if there was unlimited funding there wouldn't be an issue," said Detective O'Dell.  "If there was unlimited labs there wouldn't be an issue but again we are dealing with finite resources here.”

In 2003, the Medical Examiner's office said they had 160 cases of unidentified remains.

“Its unfortunate, it's totally regrettable but the family does understand,” Gaxiola added.

Next month, the man that investigators say is responsible for Linda Watson's disappearance and murder, will be in court. David Watson has plead not guilty.

Detectives continue to question potential witnesses.

If you have information on this case, you are urged to contact 911 or 88-CRIME.

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