Page 7 of 11

It seemed logical, at first. Whenever Stephanie left one of the men, she soon ended up at the other's house.

Mack explains the emphasis this way: "Tell me who had more motive" to harm Stephanie. Gonzales, who Stephanie had just ripped off for $2,400, or Goodrum?

Sheriff's deputies questioned Gonzales the morning Stephanie was reported missing, pulling his vehicle over while his son was driving him back from town to his home. Gonzales said he hadn't seen her since the day before, and he invited deputies to search his property, which they did. They found nothing.

Gonzales was convinced that Stephanie was dead as soon as the deputies told him she was missing.

For the next two and a half weeks, Gonzales says he went out to the desert every day looking for Stephanie. When the sheriff's department decided not to conduct an aerial search, he hired a private pilot to fly over the area searching for her.

"I checked the whole area and mapped it," he says.
He found nothing.
Other citizens searched for Stephanie, as well. No one found a trace of her, even though one woman said two weeks before Stephanie's remains were discovered that she was within ten paces of where the body was later found.

"I don't think she was there," says Elois Flowers.
Returning to the site the week after Stephanie's body was removed, Flowers was able to locate the spot where she had stood. She had been eating a pomegranate; the rind was still on the ground. Even though investigators had removed the body, the stench was overwhelming. It was a stench she didn't notice just three weeks earlier.

"I know she wasn't there [earlier]," Flowers insists. "I would have smelled her."

While Gonzales and the family continued to search the area, the sheriff's department slowly escalated the scope of its probe. But weeks passed, and Stephanie failed to show up.

A week after she vanished, Mack had polygraph tests administered to Goodrum and Gonzales. Both men passed the polygraph, which asked if they were withholding information about her disappearance. The accuracy of the polygraph later came under question because of the lack of information provided by Mack to the polygrapher.

But Mack relied heavily on the polygraph results conducted by former Pinal County Sheriff Deputy Chris Wesbrock.

"I thought the polygraph was a very thorough interrogation," he says. With the polygraphs clearing both men, Mack says there was no immediate need for another intense interrogation of Goodrum or Gonzales by his department.

He also said there was no evidence that Stephanie was harmed in any way, and therefore no basis to obtain a search warrant to examine Goodrum's property.

"There wasn't probable cause," Mack says.
But Mack later admitted that he wasn't aware of the extent of Goodrum's criminal record, which could have been supporting evidence in seeking a search warrant.

He said he didn't even know Goodrum had been charged with beating Stephanie with a tire iron in 1989, until New Times questioned him about the charge last month.

At the same time, Mack says he knew the intimate details of Stephanie's and Goodrum's relationship.

"We knew more than anyone around here about the relationship between Stephanie and Andreas," he says.

And there were other strong indications that Goodrum had become increasingly violent in the months leading up to Stephanie's disappearance.

Goodrum's parents requested that a Greenlee County court enter a harassment injunction against their son six weeks after Stephanie vanished. The petition, signed by Goodrum's father, J.D. Goodrum, claimed that Andreas "has threatened to kill those named in the petition" on several occasions over the previous eight months.

In February 1993, "defendant telephone [sic] me at work resulting in extreme verbal abuse, threats to beat me to death and 'blow up' my home, also threat to kill his brother, Shawn Goodrum," the father's petition read in part.

The threats culminated with an incident in September 1993, when Andreas Goodrum is alleged to have physically assaulted his aunt while she was shopping at a Safford department store. "He physically rammed Rose Goodrum repeatedly three times, requiring her to push him away. He then threatened to kill her, J.D. Goodrum and Shawn Goodrum," J.D. Goodrum's petition states.

The court issued the injunction, but for an unexplained reason it was quashed two weeks after Stephanie's body was discovered--at the father's request.

Fifty-five days after Stephanie disappeared, a hunter found her left arm bones on a pathway adjacent to the San Simon River, about two and one-half miles from the roadside where Goodrum said she exited his truck.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty