Man Confesses to 1997 Murder After Receiving Texts From Walmart

Matthew Gibson
A North Carolina man named Matthew Gibson confessed to murdering a woman 17 years ago after receiving mysterious texts from Walmart about a woman's prescription being ready. Courtesy of Bullhead City Police Dept.

A North Carolina man named Matthew Gibson confessed to murdering a woman 17 years ago, police told the Charlotte Observer on Monday, Sept. 22. What's most bizarre about his sudden admission is that Gibson came clean after receiving texts from Walmart.

Gibson, 55, showed up in Arizona's Winslow Police Department last June, where Detective Alicia Marquez remembered him "sitting in the police department’s lobby, scared and sobbing… [wanting] to talk about a crime he committed more than a decade before."

Gibson told Detective Marquez that he met a woman one night in Bullhead City, Ariz., and they went back to his trailer. He asked the woman to leave after she became "loud and obnoxious," and when she refused, Gibson "bludgeoned her to death with a Maglite flashlight." He threw her body into the Colorado River, where he buried his secret — until he started receiving mysterious texts, calls, and even a letter from Walmart saying a prescription for Anita Townshed was ready.

Paranoid that somebody knew his secret, Gibson was convinced that Townshed was the name of the woman he killed. He thought someone was monitoring his calls and believed they may have placed "a contract on his head."

"We see a lot in this line of work," Marquez told the Observer. "He was in so much fear for his life."

Gibson, a former drug addict, found religion several years ago, his attorney told the paper. "He felt bad," his lawyer Ron Gilleo said of his sudden confession. "It was weighing on him." Since his breakdown last summer, Gibson deleted the texts and voice mails, but his confession was enough.

Police admitted that they would have never had a case had Gibson never confessed to the crime. He requested he plead guilty to manslaughter and start his sentence of 10 years immediately.

As for Anita Townshed? The actual name of the woman he had murdered 17 years ago was Barbara Brown Agnew.

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