It comes from all the way back in 2014, but this is quite the story. Perhaps the craziest wrong number tale we’ll ever write about.
Detective Alicia Marquez of Arizona’s Winslow Police Department said Monday she met Gibson shortly after 7:30 a.m. one morning last June. He was sitting in the police department’s lobby, scared and sobbing, and said he wanted to talk about a crime he committed more than a decade before.
He told Marquez a bizarre tale: He met a woman in Bullhead City, Ariz., late one night. They went back to his trailer. She became loud and obnoxious. He told her to leave and she wouldn’t. He finally bludgeoned her to death with a Maglite flashlight, dumped her body by the Colorado River and kept quiet for years.
So what made him finally confess after all this time? Misdirected texts from Walmart, apparently.
The 55-year-old told the detective that he began receiving text messages and voice mails from Walmart telling an Anita Townshed that her prescription was ready. A search of public databases by the Observer shows three women in North Carolina with similar names, including one living in Watauga County.
Gibson later received an envelope with a Walmart advertisement in it but no return name or address. He felt someone was monitoring his calls, he said.
Gibson’s conclusion: Townshed must have been the woman he killed. Now he felt someone might have put “a contract on his head.”
He didn’t find out until he’d driven all the way across the country that Anita Townshed wasn’t the woman’s name and that had he not walked in and said he did it, police likely would have never figured it out since the name Matthew Gibson had never once come up during the investigation. But even after learning these things, he still wanted to plead guilty and start serving his sentence right away.
I don’t know what the moral of this story is (That your conscience will always get you in the end? That even when Walmart does something of value they’re still pretty much incompetent?), But whatever you take from it, it really is a hell of a thing.