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Cold Case Suspect Appears in Valley County Court

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

45-year-old former Ord resident John Oldson appeared before a Valley County judge, Monday for his arraignment.

Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt says having Oldson in custody is a sigh of relief.

"This man's messed with a lot of lives," Hurlburt says.

He's charged with the first degree murder of Cathy Beard in 1989. His arrest in Kansas in January came after years of investigation.

Hurlburt says he's confident the case will finally be closed.

"We wouldn't have arrested him if we didn't believe that was confirmed," Hurlburt says. "It's no doubt in my mind."

Former Valley County Sheriff Woody Woodgate began work on the case in 1989 and was still on it when Beard's remains were discovered in 1992.

"Back then, we were very close, back after the remains were found," Woodgate says. "We were very close but we didn't quite have enough, according to the County Attorney."

He says Oldson was one of the main suspects from the beginning of the investigation, but because the investigation couldn't reveal the necessary evidence for an arrest until this year, he never expected Oldson to return to Valley County for a court date.

"Quite truthfully, I didn't," Woodgate says. "However, things have changed quite a little bit since '89, so I'm glad to see it has occurred."

Officials wouldn't say exactly what evidence surfaced leading to the arrest, but it's likely new witness accounts.

"I am very happy that other people came forward," Woodgate says. "We did not have those witnesses back then, we had some witnesses, but not near."

Oldson's bond in Hall County jail was originally set at $1 million. Monday, the judge eliminated that bond after a request from the prosecution, because of the severity of Oldson's crimes.

He's scheduled to return to Valley County for a preliminary hearing on March 5th. Valley County will appoint an attorney to represent him.


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