Husband Charged in 1984 Murder

Police have charged the husband of Elizabeth Gough Heath with murder.

The husband of a woman whose body was found inside a well under a barn in Newtown pleaded not guilty to a murder charge on Tuesday and is being held on $1 million bond.

John Heath, 68, of Bridgewater, was charged with the murder of his wife, Elizabeth Gough Heath,on Monday. He appeared in court wearing oxygen tubes, the News-Times reports.

Heath, whose daughter lives in Puerto Rico, according to the News-Times, was  ordered to hand in his passport.

Prosecutors said officials acted quickly to arrest Heath after a moving truck was spotted at his house over the weekend.

Elizabeth Gough Heath was reported missing in April 1984, just days after John Heath filed for divorce. She was 30 years old at the time.

John Heath reported his wife missing on April 6, 1984. According to court records, he told police she took off with $600 cash, but told several friends she left with no money.

A father and son found Elizabeth Gough Heath’s remains in April 2010 as they were renovating the barn at 89 Poverty Hallow Road.

They were working on breaking through badly damaged flooring when they found a covered well. Inside were pillows, a blanket, a pillow case and a bag containing what looked like a human femur.

Elizabeth had been wrapped in bedding and placed head-first into the hole in the barn with a plastic bag covering her skull, according to court records.

When police questioned John Heath, he said he renovated the barn in 1990 and used a jackhammer to open hole in floor to put a cast iron pipe under concrete, according to information from court. During the renovation, a relative asked him about what was under a concrete lid in the barn and he said it was an old septic tank and to leave it alone.

When police told John Heath that Elizabeth had a broken forearm and the bone was smashed, Heath said "Smashed like a..." He didn't finish the sentence but raised and lowered his hands as he said "smashed" as if he was holding something, according to court records.

The medical examiner previously ruled Elizabeth's death a homicide. She died from four blows to the head, the medical examiner determined. 

Her left arm was broken, which authorities said was consistent with a defensive wound, and there was a traumatic amputation of her maxilla.

Land records show that John Heath owned the property until 2005, when he lost the property to foreclosure.

John Heath's friends said he was a Vietnam Veteran with a volatile temper and still very disturbed by what he encountered in Vietnam.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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