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UPDATE: Harlan County murder victim's mother remembers daughter

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email
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The Deputy Coroner says 34-year-old Jennifer Goddard was found dead in a home in the Ages community of Harlan County.

MGN Online

Update 11-22-13

The mother of a Harlan County murder victim says her daughter did not deserve to die.

Police say 34-year-old Jennifer Goddard was killed on Wednesday at a home in the Ages community.

"She died at such a young age. She was full of life," said Goddard's mother Carla Burgess.

Police found her body shortly after 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday at her home.

"I went up there almost everyday and seen her. I won't be seeing her no more up there. You know, she was my best friend," Burgess said.

Burgess still cannot believe her only daughter is gone.

"I don't know how I'm going to make it without her. I don't. I don't know how I'm going to make it without my daughter," Burgess said.

Investigators say Goddard died from a single gunshot.

Police arrested George Rigney. Police say Rigney surrendered to troopers at the Harlan KSP Post on Thursday night. Rigney is charged with murder and tampering with evidence. He is in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

Rigney turned down our request for a jailhouse interview.

Burgess said Rigney and Goddard lived together for seven years.

"I don't know why this happened, but she didn't deserve this," said Burgess.

State Police are still investigating a possible motive for the shooting.

"We're still not exactly sure what the motive was. We're still looking into the facts of what events led up to the shooting and what time frame this occurred," said Trooper Shane Jacobs.

Goddard also leaves behind four children.

Burgess says her daughter also loved animals.

"She was a great person, a really great person," said Burgess.

Visitation for Goddard will be conducted Sunday from 11:00AM until 3:00PM in the Chapel of the Evarts Funeral Home. Funeral services will be conducted Sunday, November 24, 2013, at 3:00 PM in the Chapel of the Evarts Funeral Home.

Update 11-21-13
Kentucky State Police arrested George W. Rigney on charges of Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence. The
arrest stems from the investigation into the death of Jennifer Goddard which occurred on November 20, 2013 in the Ages community of Harlan County.

Update 6:00pm 11-20-13

A Harlan County woman was found dead in a home and police want to know how she died.

It happened on Sweet Ball Road in the Ages community of Harlan County.

Harlan County Deputy Coroner Jim Rich identifies the woman as 34-year-old Jennifer Goddard.

State police are not releasing many details at this time. Detectives spent hours at the scene trying to figure out how she died and what happened.

Police say shortly after six in the morning, someone reported a woman dead in the home. Police say the woman's body was in the kitchen.

"Shocked us really," said Stevie Shell who lives below the home.

Shell says his cousin also lived in the home with Goddard and says he knew her since she was a teenager.

"Everybody liked her. She seemed to be a nice girl. You walk up on the road, and she'd speak to you," Shell said.

Police are trying to figure out led to her death.

"We're trying to collect any kind of evidence. We're interviewing neighbors, so it's very early in the investigation. We're trying to collect anything we can to find out exactly what happened here," said Trooper Shane Jacobs.

Shell says he did not notice anything out of the ordinary in the neighborhood.

"Never have no trouble or nothing, everything's peaceful," said Shell.

Police say the body went to the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort for an autopsy.

Police say once they determine how she died, then they can start figuring out what happened.


Kentucky State Police in Harlan have confirmed they are conducting a death investigation in Harlan County.

Police say they received a call at 6:11 a.m. indicating a woman was found dead on the kitchen floor in a home on Sweet Ball Lane in the Ages community.

KSP detectives are on the scene, along with the Harlan County Coroner.

We will post updates as they become available.

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