Joplin detective takes fresh look at 12-year-old murder case

Sgt. Greg Francis, JPD, stands outside a barrier on Oct. 2, 1991, in front of the Fastrip at 1204 N. Duquesne Rd. where Lucinda J. Adams was murdered.

File Photo

Sgt. Greg Francis, JPD, stands outside a barrier on Oct. 2, 1991, in front of the Fastrip at 1204 N. Duquesne Rd. where Lucinda J. Adams was murdered.

Jerry Manter

If there’s one thing that frustrates Joplin Police detectives more than anything, it’s the unsolved murder.

Why? It just rarely happens.

“Joplin has very few homicides that go unsolved,” said Brady Stuart, JPD detective. “It’s very rare.”

Stuart is now the lead detective for the Fastrip homicide case, which has gone unsolved for more than 12 years.

In the early hours of Oct. 2, 1991, Lucinda J. Adams, a Fastrip employee, was found dead in the convenience store at 1204 N. Duquesne Rd., located behind Missouri Southern’s residence halls. No suspect has been named for the murder.

Stuart is trying to get the word out about the unsolved homicide in hopes that someone with the University has information regarding the case.

“Relationships change,” Stuart said. “There may be an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who might know something.”

Stuart, a forgery investigator with the JPD for four years, doesn’t have a great deal of time to concentrate on the case. Much of the investigating occurs on days off and at home.

“Our case loads are extremely heavy,” he said. “If I have time, I try to do a follow up.”

Although Stuart is unable to concentrate completely on the homicide case, he is optimistic a strong lead will arise. After The Joplin Globe published two articles about Stuart and his efforts in the case, three strong leads were brought to his attention. Investigators once followed a lead that took them to Colorado.

“Investigators waste no expense in following leads,” he said.

With the recent media attention, he’s hoping to find an unknown individual who may have some information regarding the case. A person was seen eating inside the convenience store around 2 a.m. the morning of the homicide. At 2:17 a.m., money was taken out of the store register. The person is described as a medium-sized male and was in his mid-20s at the time of the crime.

“He might have been the last person to talk with her,” he said. “I’d be interested in talking with him.”

Chad Hayworth, assistant city editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale, was an assistant editor of The Chart at the time of the homicide and covered the crime.

“I had no idea it was still unsolved,” Hayworth said.

Hayworth recalls going to the residence halls for student reaction.

“Most students were surprised and didn’t know about it,” Hayworth said. “Many weren’t all that concerned.”

He said the incident was a big story for Southern and the community.

“In Joplin, a murder is a big deal,” he said. “It’s not an everyday experience.”

A better description of the individual eating inside the store and a better understanding of the crime may have been available if video surveillance was used. The day of the crime, however, the surveillance system was either not working or was not being used at the time.

Stuart came to Southern to read stories published by The Chart. One story was published the day after the crime and another published at the 10-year anniversary. Although he said investigators did an excellent job with the initial investigation, he still wanted to read the articles to see if anything “catches his eye.”

One thing did.

“The article says that the back door was opened,” he said. “Maybe I overlooked that, but that caught my eye.”

Since Stuart has taken over the case, he said he has not contacted the victim’s family.

“I don’t want to bring up the heartache until I have some reason to contact them,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding the Fastrip homicide investigation may contact Stuart at 623-3131, ext. 443. Anonymous phone calls will be accepted.