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Man arrested for murder of Johnson County woman

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Family members of a murdered eastern Kentucky woman say they're relieved there's been an arrest in the case.

Police arrested Gary Ward after a grand jury indicted him. They say Ward killed Christina Barnett last month in a wooded area off Highway 80 near Hindman.

Christina Barnett’s family members say she met Gary Ward through Facebook. Even though the family didn't approve of Ward, they never thought he was capable of killing Barnett.

“We didn't want him to run. We wanted him to face what he's done,” said Michelle Hale, whose sister is Christina Barnett.

When family learned that Ward was arrested Thursday night at his Johnson County home, they say they finally began to feel a sense of relief.

“I feel like someone has lifted 20 pounds off my shoulders. He deserves this, he took away our sister, she was a great person and didn't deserve this,” Hale said.

But when Gary Ward's friends learned of his arrest, relief was the last thing they felt.

“I go to church with him and I’ve grown up with him and I was shocked to hear of the arrest. I think he's innocent,” said Teresa Butcher, who lives near Ward.

But Barnett’s family still says they suspected Ward all along.

“I knew it from the beginning who did this. As soon as she didn't come home and as soon as she went missing, he was the only one I ever suspected. It was him 100%.”

Gary Ward is set to be arraigned on November 14th. He is being held in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.

Along with murder, Ward has been charged with abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering.


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