Just days after charging William Clyde Gibson with murdering two women in separate incidents, police on Thursday searched for a missing woman in the Ohio River near New Albany, saying they were acting on a lead developed in the Gibson investigation.
Stephanie Marie Kirk, 35, of Charlestown, was last seen about 1 p.m. March 25 as she left a friend’s home in the 1300 block of East Spring Street in New Albany.
“We’re searching for her and there is that possibility that that is where she is,” said Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden — though another detective added later that investigators are also following up on reports that Kirk had been spotted in Jeffersonville and elsewhere since her disappearance.
New Albany police Maj. Keith Whitlow would not confirm what searchers were looking for near the city’s riverfront, but he said police are following up on information developed in the Gibson investigation.
“At this point, we are still looking for evidence,” he said.
On Thursday morning, Louisville Metro Police squad cars lined the riverbank as a New Albany Fire Department boat carried investigators near the Gallagher power plant. Meanwhile, police divers waited on the riverbank for the word to go into the water.
Kirk was going to meet a man at the Uptown Bar in New Albany when she disappeared, police have said. She had met the man the night before at the bar and it is believed that they were planning on going on a motorcycle ride, police said.
Maj. Donnie Bowyer, of the Clark Sheriff’s Office, said last week that there were conflicting accounts about whether she arrived at the bar.
The man was described as white and between 55 and 60 years old. The man’s name was believed to be Jeff Cohan, but Bowyer said Thursday that they were uncertain whether that was even a real person.
Gibson, 54, a registered sex offender, was charged Tuesday in the murder last week of Christine Whitis, 75, of Clarksville, who was found strangled in his home in the 800 block of Woodbourne Drive in New Albany. Gibson was spotted driving Whitis’ car later that day on Grant Line Road and was arrested on a drunken-driving charge, police chief Sherri Knight has said.