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Springfield cold case gets new attention, family pleads for answers

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A Springfield cold case is getting new attention, 23-years after the crime was committed.

Gloria Jean Barnes’ body was found wrapped in blankets, and placed in an open area of an old Springfield truck stop. She was 36-years old.

“Somebody knows something. Somebody knows everything,” Gloria’s brother John Knighton said. He has a desperate plea for answers from the “somebody” who holds the key to a question that has burned for 23 years.

”God says everything done in dark will be brought to light,” said Sarah Matamoros, Gloria’s sister.

Gloria’s body was found in Springfield in July 1997. She was killed and dumped behind what used to be 7 Gables Truck Stop off East Chestnut Expressway, not too far from I-44. Barnes’ sister and brother believe the crime happened where Gloria was last seen alive-- in Joiner, Arkansas. But they say someone in the Ozarks has to know something.

“I think whoever did this was and whoever knows what happened is someone close to the family. It wasn’t some random trucker, I don’t care what anyone else thinks,” Knighton said.

Earlier this year, a trucker was arrested in Iowa believed to be responsible for multiple deaths with a similar method of operation. Gloria’s family does not believe Clark Perry Bladwin was responsible for her death, though. Springfield police are still investigating the possibility.

“We believe she got here in a semi truck. We don’t have that big piece of DNA evidence that sticks out, like we have to send this right now and it’s going to solve it. But it could be there and like in any case, if someone comes forward, that is the big breaker,” said Springfield police Lt. Culley Wilson.

Gloria’s sister Sarah is hopeful.

”I do know that some people in Springfield did see something. They said there was a young man working at the fuel place. What I heard was a car drove by and told them there was a dead body back here. And the guy got back here and saw a hand exposed. And then the cops came."

Sarah’s prayer is that on what would be Gloria’s 59th birthday, July 14, their family would receive the greatest gift they can hope for at this point: the answer of who.

“I believe you have to make it right with God before you meet your maker, and I hope you do.”

Springfield police ask anyone with information to give them a call. If you do not feel comfortable doing that, Gloria’s brother who is in law enforcement set up a special e-mail for tips at gloriabarnes797@gmail.com.

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