Linda Strait Murder: Where is Arbie Williams Now? – “Swamp Murders” is a true-crime television series on Investigation Discovery that explores cases of homicide that have taken place in the swampy and marshy areas of the United States. Each episode features interviews with law enforcement officials, forensic experts, and family members of the victims to reconstruct the events leading up to the crime and the investigation that followed.
‘Swamp Murders‘ Season 4 Episode 5 “Shoeprints in the Mud,” narrates the case of Linda Strait’s rape and murder in Spokane, Washington, in 1982. It was one of the most perplexing and heinous crimes in the state’s history. Linda was just 15 years old when she was found strangled and raped on the shore of the Spokane River. The case remained unsolved for over two decades, and it was only through advanced forensic technology that the perpetrator, Arbie Dean Williams, was finally caught. But who was Arbie Williams, and how did he end up committing such a heinous crime?
Who was Linda Strait and What Happened to Her?
Linda was a popular student at Linwood School, and her mother, Donna, described her as the “light of my life.” When Linda failed to return home after a trip to the local grocery store, Donna and her family became worried. A fisherman found her body the following day on the shore of the Spokane River. She had been raped and strangled to death. Investigators found a pillowcase with semen near her body, which would later become a crucial piece of evidence in solving the case.
Who Killer Linda Strait and What was the Reason?
Since his conviction in 1983 for the kidnapping of two eighth-graders from Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley, Arbie Dean Williams has been jailed. According to court filings, he allegedly induced the two young girls to enter his vehicle by claiming he had misplaced his keys and needed their assistance in locating them. Nonetheless, he scared the young women into silence by making them ride in the front seat. He then drove until it became dark. He then ordered them to disrobe, but one of the females managed to flee.
The other 8-year-old girl consented and was after that raped and strangled until she passed out. Arbie left her in a distant forest area after erroneously assuming she was dead. However, she regained consciousness and was able to seek medical assistance. The police interrogated hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals in an attempt to identify Linda’s murderer. Eight months after Linda’s death, Arbie was arrested for kidnapping and rape, and suspicions were raised when he refused to speak.
When the discovered pillowcase containing sperm was submitted for DNA testing in 1989, forensic technology was not advanced enough to conduct the test. In 1998, over a decade later, another attempt was undertaken, but both times the results were inconclusive. In April 2003, however, one of the detectives decided to try again by shipping the pillowcase to a private laboratory. By then, significant progress had been achieved in forensic science and DNA analysis.
According to the show, the results were delivered in May of 2003, making it approximately one month later. The sample matched the DNA of a felon named Arbie Dean Williams, whose DNA was already in the police database. Donna, Linda’s mother, had already admitted to having nightmares over her daughter’s disappearance, and the rest of the family had given up hope that the case would ever be solved. George Ragland, the stepfather of Linda, stated, “I was almost resigned to the fact that we would never find him.” Donna insisted she would not surrender the fight to uncover the truth. She no longer needs to be concerned about the pervert.
In April 2003, according to the evidence produced in court, Arbie’s defense team was preparing to argue for his parole release from jail on convictions for kidnapping and rape from the early 1990s. Still, the results of the tests were sufficient for the Spokane Police Department to charge him with first-degree murder in the death of Linda. In August of 2006, newspapers reported that Arbie filed a guilty plea. Yet, he did not explain why or how he attacked Linda.
In Arbie’s August 2006 trial, the rape victim, who was then in her early 30s, testified. She stated: “I, too, was a victim of this beast, but I survived. Unfortunately, I have firsthand experience with what Linda endured in her final hours, as I also went through it. Her confession to the court states, “To contact you is to lose a portion of one’s soul.” She told Arbie this after being informed that she would die absent “divine intervention.” Not even death is an option for you. You no longer dare to look at me, do you?
Where is Killer Arbie Williams Today?
Arbie attempted to recant his confession when the prosecution described the horror of his crime in court. Although he was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea, he was not permitted to withdraw his admission. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Linda’s killing and was sentenced to life in prison plus twenty years. Arbie said that he was “tired of serving time” and would have accepted the death penalty if it had been imposed.
Donna, who was 74 years old at the time, told the man who murdered her daughter when she was a kid, “I consider you to be the filth of the earth, and I wish you burn in hell.” George stated that if the death penalty had been an option, he would have gladly executed the man. To have a child taken from a mother on a Sunday morning in broad daylight with other people around, to be raped, robbed, murdered, and dropped in the Spokane River at night like trash was too much, he stated.
I do not anticipate their forgiveness, “The defendant claimed in court. I cannot fathom how you could ever forgive someone like me. On occasion, we apologize for our behavior. The majority of individuals only experience regret after being caught. I’m not trying to ask for forgiveness. I don’t qualify for any leniency. I did not want her family to spend three weeks in court. According to court filings, the 79-year-old is currently jailed at the Stafford Creek Correctional Institution.