Parking Lot Mystery: Who left the body of a 35-year-old Arkansas woman in a Springfield truck stop?
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
On July 13,1997, at approximately 8:29 a.m., patrol officers from the Springfield Police Department were dispatched to the Seven Gables truck stop located at 4525 W. Chestnut Expressway to investigate a report of a dead body that had been discovered by four truck drivers.
Patrol officers responded to the truck stop and located the body of a deceased white female lying on the asphalt parking lot behind the business. The body was wrapped in blankets and had been placed in the open area of the parking lot. The victim was wearing a white “Spring Break” t-shirt and black shorts.
The victim was later identified as Gloria Jean Barnes (DOB 7/14/1961).
The truck stop where the victim’s body was discovered is located approximately one half mile off of Interstate 44 on the west side of Springfield. The truck stop is not visible from the Interstate and it does receive a lot of traffic. The perpetrator did not try to hide or conceal the victim’s body from being discovered.
The follow-up investigation revealed that Gloria Barnes was last seen alive in Joiner, Arkansas around midnight on 7/10/1997.
According to the victim’s brother, Gloria called him on 7/11/1997 at approximately 1:45 a.m. and reported that someone trying to "get her".
According to family members, Gloria had been paranoid in the past about people following her. The telephone call was later traced to a pay phone that was located on the parking lot of a convenience store in Joiner, Arkansas.
This convenience store was burglarized on the same night as Gloria’s disappearance. There was an unconfirmed sighting of Gloria walking toward Interstate 55 approximately one mile west of Joiner. Joiner is a rural town located just off Interstate 55 near the Tennessee border.
The Springfield Police Department has received numerous leads and tips concerning Gloria’s death. Investigators are particularly interested in two Crimestopper tips that were called in anonymously shortly after the victim’s body was discovered. The investigators are also interested in CB traffic that was intercepted from an unknown person that claimed responsibility for Gloria’s death.
Location where body of Barnes was left.
Additional information received involved a gray semi truck possibly providing a ride to Gloria shortly before her death.
The truck reportedly had the word “Graceland” on the cab and a picture of “Elvis” on the fairing. Additionally, the name “Memphis Consolidation” and/or “Trailer Transit” was displayed on the doors of the semi truck cab.
Anyone with any information on this cold case is asked to contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810