COLD CASE: 31 year-old Lawrence county murder to be featured on national true crime series

Published: Sep. 7, 2019 at 11:37 PM CDT
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The man indicted by a grand jury in connection with the 31 year-old cold-case murder of Cynthia Smith was just weeks away from relocating to the east coast, according to a probable cause statement.

Lawrence "Larry" Timmons was taken into custody by the Lawrence County Sheriff's office on August 19, 2019, for felony forgery and fraud.

A probable cause statement says that Timmons lied to an employer about his status as a felon in February of this year. As a result, Timmons gained employment selling lottery tickets and alcohol in Pierce City, Mo. The state of Missouri prohibits felons from selling both liquor and lottery tickets.

Timmons also stands accused of lying to the Monett Area YMCA about his felon status while seeking, and later obtaining, employment in November of 2014.

The probable cause statement asserts that the Monett Police Department received complaints in 2016 accusing Timmons of sexually harassing two female YMCA patrons.

The statement says that Timmons used e-mail to harass and proposition the women for sexual intercourse, offering to teach them about alternate forms of sex.

Timmons used four separate social security numbers, nine different e-mail addresses, and seventeen different aliases for various fraudulent activities, according to the statement. The aliases are listed as Gene Timmons, Larry Gene Timmons, Eugene Timmons, Timmons Gene Mechele, Karry Timmons, Larry J. Timmons, Lawrence G. Timmons, L. Gene Timmons, Lawrence M. Timmons, L. G. Timmons, Larry Timmons, Larry B. Timmons, Mechele T. Gene, David A. Tombley, and Deborah J. Timmons.

Prior felony conviction

Timmons felony status stems from a 1978 kidnapping conviction in Greene county. Timmons was sentenced to three years in prison for the kidnapping of an 11 year old boy.

Court records state that on May 19, 1976, the 11 year old was mowing a lawn at 901 E. Normal when his friend instructed him to see if any other homes nearby needed lawn services.

The 11 year-old approached the residence at 917 E. Normal, where Timmons, who was 23 at the time, was lying on a couch on the porch. The boy talked briefly with Timmons about mowing the lawn. Timmons, who lived at the property with four other males, told the boy he would go ask his wife, who he claimed was inside the house, if she would give the child permission to mow.

When Timmons returned, he had a shotgun, and forced the boy into the house and down into the basement. Timmons covered the boy's head with a sack and bound his hands together with bailing twine. Timmons then picked the boy up by one arm and one leg and forced his head into a cooler filled with water.

The attack was interrupted by the arrival of two women at the home. Timmons went to greet the women upstairs, leaving the boy in the basement. Timmons then left with the women, giving the boy a chance to escape out of a basement window, where he ran home and later told Springfield police officers of the attack.

Timmons was convicted of the kidnapping shortly after, and released from prison three years later in the early 1980’s.

The murder of Cynthia Smith

On July 28, 1988 Cynthia Smith dropped her children off with a babysitter before heading to Checker’s restaurant and bar in Mount Vernon, Mo.

Cynthia was reported missing after she did not return to pick up her children.

Shortly after, Cynthia’s body was found in a rural Pierce City cemetery.

In 1988, Timmons was questioned in connection with the murder of Cynthia Smith, but no charges were filed.

On September 6, 2019 the Lawrence County Sheriff’s office, in partnership with private investigators of national true-crime program Cold Justice, submitted evidence to prompt the grand jury indictment of Timmons in connection with the murder of Cynthia Smith.

The findings of the case documented on the program are scheduled to air in early 2020 on the true crime network Oxygen. The program recently detailed the closure of a 36-year-old cold-case near Milwaukee, WI.

Other cold cases in the Lawrence county area are being reviewed at this time, though the Lawrence County sheriff’s office could not directly confirm Timmons as a person of interest in those cases.

Timmons is currently being held in the Lawrence County jail on $250,000 bond.