Overview of Vivian Edwards
Vivian Lee Edwards was involved in an abusive relationship, and four years prior to her disappearance, had been beaten by her then husband.
Shortly before her disappearance, she informed a married couple that she was afraid her husband would kill her, but told her brother that it was her neighbor whom she was afraid. Vivian had also been involved in a car crash and was engaged in a lawsuit as a result; just prior to her disappearance she had declined a settlement offer for a substantial amount of money and her lawyer expected her to prevail at trial in March of that year.
Vivian was last seen in January of 1983 and her case was initially investigated as a missing persons case.
Vivian was last seen in early January of 1983 but by the time her mother reported her missing on January 25, 1983, she had not been seen for about two weeks. Vivian had recently talked with friends about leaving town for good. Sources indicate Edwards had been seeing a man named Jack Youngblood around the time of her disappearance. The ensuing investigation revealed that possessions Vivian would have likely taken with her if she had fled or moved were left in the house, such as her shoes and a cigarette lighter that she often took with her everywhere she went. She had also left her car in the driveway.
Investigators found blood in her house that matched Edwards’ and suspected foul play. Investigators also found some phone numbers on scraps of paper in her house, and according to their reports, the investigators called every phone number they found; to no avail. Investigators acknowledged that evidence was very limited; though we do know that fingerprints found at Edwards’ house were not subsequently associated with two suspects.
“The poor thing,” Prestigiacomo said. “She never had any luck; it was all bad.” - Billie Prestigiacomo, Vivian’s mother.
Vivian’s skeletal remains were found on October 3, 1987 in a wooded area in Walton County, FL.
Her case was initially investigated as a missing person until more than 4 years after she disappeared when her skeleton was found in a wooded area in Walton County. The drive from Vivian’s home to the location in Walton County where Edwards' skeleton was found is approximately 20 minutes, according to investigators. On multiple occasions since her disappearance, interested parties were investigated or came forward.
Two “persons of interest” quickly gained the attention of investigators.
The first, her former husband, had beaten Vivian about 4 years prior to her disappearance. They later divorced and he eventually passed a polygraph test. Edwards had also told people she was scared of her neighbor, who once chased his girlfriend into Edwards’ house and shoved Vivian out of the way so he could continue to beat his girlfriend. The neighbor was a person of interest but there was insufficient evidence. The following is a discussion between Sheriff Frank McKeithen and Jack Youngblood during the investigation:
McKeithen: "I want to talk to you about Vivian Edwards"
Youngblood: "I loved her"
McKeithen: "Is that why you killed her?"
Two serial killers were active in the Florida panhandle during the time of her disappearance.
The first serial killer investigated by authorities is Henry Lee Lucas, confessed to more than 250 murders. He was later convicted for murdering 3 people between 1960-1983; though 8 additional murders are unconfirmed. The second is Lucas’ friend, Ottis Toole, has confessed to hundreds of murders. Toole was arrested in 1983 for the murders of 6 people between 1961-1983, including the murder of Adam Walsh.
Where the case stands today.
Vivian’s case has remained unsolved for nearly 40 years. Several suspects have emerged during the course of the ensuing investigation but it was determined that evidence against any single one was insufficient for prosecutors to levy charges.