Employer of missing Mississippi woman, hiding out in ETX
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - We're learning more about the arrest of a Mississippi woman, who police say faked her own disappearance, and moved to East Texas.
Linda Reed was arrested Thursday morning. She was wanted not only for faking her disappearance, but also for embezzlement.
In an exclusive interview, Reed's co-workers say something was just not right about the woman who was taking care of their books.
Joe Walton was in need of a bookkeeper for his business, Walton's Automotive, and had a friend recommend Linda Reed for the job, but it came with a hitch.
"I couldn't do a background check simply because she was in the process of a divorce from an abusive husband and she was hiding from him," Walton says.
Reed set up shop in Longview, and by all accounts, was doing a very credible job. But, she was hiding something.
"The largest red flags were the fact that her kids had disowned her in this process. We always suspected there was a story there that maybe we weren't hearing," Walton says.
Hired as a contract employee, Reed had access to accounts and the company safe... holding thousands of dollars.
"We deal in large amounts of money. We could have been in a world of trouble," Walton says.
One of Reed's co-worker's, Lori Bess, was training to take Reed's place.
"Things just didn't add up. Things she mentioned to other employees weren't the same things mentioned to me," Bess says.
Bess says she went home and Googled Linda Reed and found a lot of information on the internet. Then, Bess called the authorities.
"I would have never thought she was capable of staging this. We were stunned. We were shocked. We apologize to the family. We were not harboring her," says Walton.
Last week Reed was listed as "wanted" after thousands of dollars were discovered missing at her former Mississippi employer.
"We do know there is over $20,200 missing out of the petty cash fund," says Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones.
Authorities say nobody at Moore Fabrication, Reed's former employer, had anything to do with that money, except for Reed.
For Walton, its a huge relief that Reed was discovered.
"I could have been hung out to dry by Miss Reed," says Walton.
Walton says they protected their assets and do not feel Reed victimized them. Reed is now in the custody of Mississippi authorities.