Tri-State murder case from 1975 capturing national attention - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Tri-State murder case from 1975 capturing national attention

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A Tri-State murder case from back in the 70's is getting some national attention.

Authorities who investigated the death of Sherry Lee Gibson, along with a former 14 News reporter, will be featured on a show on the Investigation Discovery Channel. 

Gibson was murdered in 1975 in Knox County and her killer finally came forward in 2001. It's all the events that took place before and after that confession that TV producers believe will capture the attention of a national audience.

In 1975, Sherry Lee Gibson was abducted while parking with her boyfriend in Knox County. It wasn't long after that her body was found in a farm house. From there, just like the script to a Hollywood movie, there are several twists and turns, including a false confession from a 15-year-old boy who later committed suicide in prison while serving time for another crime.  

But it's in December of 2001 that the plot thickens, when Ella Mae Dicks confesses to authorities in Georgia that she murdered a woman in Indiana. That's when Indiana State Police Detective Larry Eck hit the road to interview this new suspect.

"I said, this lady knows exactly what she's talking about. She knows more about the crime scene than I know and I was there. She knows more about the body and I was there," said Eck, who is now retired. 

Eck, who became the lead investigator in the case, says Dicks precisely drew diagrams of the house and the room where the murder took place. Sketches of the suspects drawn by retired state police trooper Joe Rhodes look almost identical to Dicks and her former husband, Wayne Gulley.  

Eck says Dicks and Gulley abducted Gibson that night in 1975 so they'd have a girl to party with. That party, Eck says, ended with Gulley taking a knife and cutting Gibson across her back, then handing that knife over to Dicks to finish the job.

"At which time Ella Mae says she took the knife and 'I plunged it into her chest.' As she pulled that knife out of her chest, she made this awful gasping sound. She said, 'I did that three times and for the last 28 years, I've been living with that gasping sound from this girl,'" Eck said.

It's a sound, Eck says, that Dicks couldn't live with anymore, leading her to turn herself in.  

On Tuesday, the retired detective still remembers almost every detail of the case. He keeps a box filled with pictures and documents in his home office. They're items, he says,he will show Wednesday night, giving a national audience a glimpse into a real-life murder mystery that even Hollywood couldn't script.

Eck's interview, along with an interview from former 14 News reporter Stefanie Silvey, will be broadcast Wednesday night on Investigation Discovery in 'Straight from the Heartland.'   

We should note, producers of the show have given Ella Mae Dicks a different name because she served a 15 year sentence and has since been released.

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