Area where murdered mother’s body was found may have been staged to look like sex crime, prosecutor said

Cynthia Carver_1550946875106.jpg.jpg

Cynthia Carver

NEWSOMS, Va. (WAVY) — The marshy area where a murdered mother’s body was discovered may have been staged to look like a sex crime scene, a prosecutor wrote in an email.

Cynthia Carver, 34, disappeared from her Everett Street home on Feb. 21, 2019. She was last seen when she dropped her children off with a babysitter around 9 p.m. She was scheduled to report to her new job as a corrections officer at the Deerfield Correctional Center the next morning, but she never showed up for work, according to the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

Carver’s mother stopped by her daughter’s home on Feb. 22, 2019, when she couldn’t reach her by phone. She discovered a gruesome scene, including a bloody knife and a pool of blood by the back door, according to court records.

Carver’s mother called police, who searched the home and discovered more blood on Carver’s driveway and on sheets and clothing inside the house. Deputies also discovered bloody drag marks inside the home and on Carver’s driveway, court records state.

Carver’s body was discovered partially clothed and laying face-down in cold marsh water on March 19, 2019. The Tidewater Medical Examiner’s Office determined she died of “multiple sharp force injuries.” Forensic scientists estimated that her body had been outdoors for about 20 days, according to court records.

James Herbert Goodwyn Jr. was charged with Carver’s murder on June 27, 2019. He initially denied going to Carver’s house, but later told police he’d visited her on the day she disappeared, but stayed in his car. In a recorded jail call, the 40-year-old man admitted to his girlfriend that he’d had sex with Carver, but denied ever going to her home. Evidence collected at the home was tested, and Goodwyn’s DNA was discovered under one of Carver’s acrylic fingernails, court records state.

The Medical Examiner’s Office found no evidence to suggest Carver was sexually assaulted before she was murdered; however, 10 On Your Side investigators obtained a copy of an email where a prosecutor theorized that the place where her body was dumped was staged to look like a sex crime had occurred.

“The body dump scene appears to me to have been staged to look like a sex crime,” Southampton County and City of Franklin Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke wrote in an Aug. 16, 2019 email.

Cooke added that Carver’s body was partially nude when she was discovered. A pair of leggings were found nearby and her underwear was around her ankle. She’d been stabbed in the vaginal area, which may have happened after she died.

Goodwyn’s case is scheduled to go before a jury on Oct. 10. He’ll appear in Southampton County Circuit Court on June 15 for a pre-trial motion.

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