Linda Watson, David ‘Dave’ Watson: ‘Dateline’–Custody Battle Led To Murder Of Arizona Women By Firefighter

Linda Watson was murdered by her firefighter ex-husband David “Dave” Watson. Dateline NBC will air the chilling story of murder on their next episode, titled “Secrets of the Desert.” Linda Watson, a beautiful mother, vanished 18 years ago. When her body was found in the desert and identified many years later, all leads were traced to Dave Watson. He was finally brought to justice and sentenced to life in prison for the killings. On Dateline, Pima County detectives will appear, in addition to family members of the victims. Linda Watson’s close friend is also likely to discuss the case.

Dateline NBC: Arizona Mother Goes Missing From Her Home

Linda Watson was reported missing in August of 2000 by her mother, Marilyn Cox. According to her mother, she last saw her daughter the evening before during church service. She became alarmed after Linda failed to pick up her daughter, Jordynn.

What stood out instantly to Marilyn was that her daughter’s pager was found at the house. It was not normal for her to leave her pager, and she would never forget to pick up her daughter. Investigators couldn’t find any evidence that a struggle had taken place. There was a broken coffee cup, but the find didn’t seem to alarm detectives. However, when Marilyn discovered blood in the entry way, according to Dateline NBC’s coverage, officers took note that someone had tried to clean up the blood.

Dateline: Firefighter Suspect In Triple Murders

Immediately, Marilyn Cox suspected her son-in-law, David Duane Watson, a decorated and well-respected firefighter. The police did, too. A look into the couple’s marriage showed that they were right in the middle of a terrible custody battle over their daughter. David was not willing to give up or share custody, KGUN-9 explained.

It seemed that Linda Watson had vanished into thin air. Some believed that she had run off with some of her wild party friends. However, her mother knew that Linda was most likely dead.

For months, there was nothing. Then years passed, and there were still no signs of Linda. In 2003, Marilyn Cox found herself in a bitter custody battle with Dave Watson over visitation rights to see her granddaughter. When Marilyn and her friend, Renee Farnsworth, went to David Watson’s West Curtis Road home, they were shot and killed.

Neighbors heard the gunshots and called police. When police arrived at the scene, they found the two women in the driveway. David Watson was not there at the time. His second wife, Rosemary, told police that her husband was home with her all night.

True Mystery Took Years To Solve

With that information, the unsolved murders went cold. There wasn’t much in the newspapers about the case until 2012, when it was announced that some remains had been identified as belonging to Linda Watson. The remains had been found years earlier by hunters, who happened upon the partial skeletal remains in the desert. However, the body was listed as “Jane Doe” since it could not be identified at the time.

Up until that point, Dave Watson’s alibi was solid. However, that changed when David “Dave” Watson’s new wife, Rosemary, changed her story and sealed his fate. By that time, she was scared to death of Dave. She admitted to police that she lied years earlier to cover for him. According to 104.1 KQTH, she described the following frightening encounter.

“Watson’s second wife Rosemary told detectives he was home at the time Linda Watson disappeared but he really was out until dawn. She looks out and there he is at the back of his Jeep cleaning it out. She doesn’t see what he’s cleaning out. She knows that he came inside carrying a box of gloves you know gloves like a firefighter, paramedic would have.”

While married to David Watson, Rosemary remembered him talking about making people disappear. Prosecutors believe that David Watson killed Linda and buried her in the desert.

The case will be explained in-depth on Dateline’s show tonight. Tune in at 9/8 p.m. Central on NBC. The death of Princess Diana recently aired on Dateline.

Note David Watson is also written as David Dwayne Watson in some articles.

[Featured Image by Pima County Sheriff’s Department/AP Images]

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