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Linda Skeek: Went Missing, Investigation and More

On January 4th, 2016, a man named Thomas Skeek, Jr. called the Anchorage, Alaska police department to report his 32-year-old wife, Linda Skeek, as a missing person.

Thomas notified police he had last noticed his wife at 2:30 a.m. on January 1st. The couple rang in the New Year by bar hopping around the Anchorage region with their kids in tow. Per Thomas’s account, they drove to three bars and a strip club. Thomas, who was the designated driver, would stay in each establishment’s parking lot with the kids until Linda was ready to head to the next location.

When the family reached back to their apartment at around 1:00 a.m., Linda resumed drinking. According to Thomas, Linda wanted to drive back downtown to visit another bar, but he took away her car keys. Linda continued to shout at him, and they argued before Linda angrily stormed out of the residence on foot at 2:30 a.m. At that point, Thomas assumed that Linda was going to cool off or would discover her way to the aforementioned bar. She was never heard from again.

Linda’s Background

Pic: Charley Project

Linda Louise Skeek (nee, Sheldon) did not have a simple childhood, but she made the best of her situation. From the time she was 14, she resided in the care of a foster family, the Sims, who, for all objectives and purposes, appears to have taken good care of Linda and treated her as if she had always been a part of their family.

During her adolescence and into her adulthood, Linda strived with substance abuse. She mainly struggled with the overconsumption of alcohol; she had partaken in rehabilitation programs various times in the past. In 2015, Linda was not sober, and she would frequently leave her house on the weekend to go on drinking binges.

According to those close to her, even in circumstances when she would go on these weekend binges, she would always come back by Sunday night so that she could go to work on Monday. In fact, at the time of her disappearance she had lately begun a job at the NANA Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native social-economic group; a position that she earned when she and Thomas relocated from Juneau to Anchorage a few months before her disappearance.

Although Linda’s adult life had also had its difficulties she remained near with her foster family. She frequently appeared at the Sims’ family gatherings and holidays and made a concerted action to stay in connection with her foster parents.

A Juneau Empire article from 2016 says: “According to her foster mum, Rena Sims, ‘She had addictions, but she was striving to clean her life up. She had a fantasy to be whole,’ Sims said, adding that Linda had checked herself into rehabilitation centers in the past. ‘She was an extremely loving, thoughtful person, respectful to others—that’s why she could always get such good employment. She loved kids and didn’t forget a birthday. She was a tremendous daughter. That doesn’t mean she didn’t have her difficulties, but she was very well-loved and she gave love back.’”

Linda Marriage to Thomas Skeek, Jr.

I could not find any data regarding how Linda met Thomas Skeek, Jr. What is known about his background is not incredible. In 2006 (nearly 10 years before marrying Linda), Thomas, then 24, was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl. At the time he was employed as a caseworker at Juneau Youth Services. Thomas fulfilled four months in prison for 3rd degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor. Whether or not this data was known by Linda at the time that she and Thomas’s met or if she ever found out during their wedding is unclear.

Linda had one kid from a previous relationship, who was 12-years-old at the time of her disappearance as well as the previously mentioned 7 and 4-year old kids with Thomas. According to some sources, the 12-year-old was not residing with Linda and Thomas at the time that she vanished, most likely due to both Linda’s substance abuse and the tumultuous connection between her and Thomas.

The Skeek wedding was not a peaceful union. Per the Charley Project page on this case:

The Skeeks’ wedding was troubled. In November 2015, according to court documents, Linda pointed a loaded handgun at her spouse in front of their seven-year-old daughter. That same month, she filed for a protective order against Thomas for herself and their two young kids. In her plea, she said Thomas had attacked her by grabbing her by the arm and shoving her and had left scrapes on her chest. She withdrew her plea ten days later, and she and Thomas reconciled.

Interestingly, both Linda and Thomas had been having extramarital affairs in 2015. Linda started her affair during her and Thomas’s November separation. Her partner at the time was cleared by police of any interest in her disappearance. Again, per Charley Project:

Linda’s boyfriend had an alibi for the night of her disappearance and isn’t deemed a suspect in her case. He knew Linda was wedded and said he guessed she may have been seeing other men at the same time she was seeing him.

In addition, this alleged boyfriend never heard from Linda again after New Years’ Eve 2015.

Regarding Thomas’s affair, it is not explicitly known when he started pursuing other women, but, notably, his girlfriend at the time was glimpsed moving in with Thomas soon following the time that Linda was announced missing.

Disappearance & Investigation

When Linda vanished she was carrying just the following items: her Alaska ID, and around $40 in cash. She did not have any credit or debit cards with her, and Thomas had the only mobile in the family.

(Side note: I recognize that cell phone usage was much more restricted in previous years, but to only have one mobile between two adults in 2016 does appear somewhat unusual—especially assuming that the couple had just moved and that Linda had just started a new job. It also makes me wonder how she was keeping up in contact with these presumed boyfriends if she and Thomas were sharing a phone.)

When Thomas told Linda’s mum she was missing, he added, “They’ll never discover her.” According to Charley Project, Rena Sims (Linda’s foster mother) became skeptical that Thomas may be involved in Linda’s disappearance after he would not authorize her to speak with their kids. In addition, according to Sims she frequently inquired Thomas if he had murdered Linda, to which he refused any involvement. Eventually, instead of saying “no” Thomas reacted, “I don’t think so.” Sims repeated, “You don’t think so?” and Thomas stated, “No, I did not murder Linda.” Sims instantly notified the police.

Further inquiry by the police disclosed that the woman who lived in the unit above the Skeeks reported hearing a wild fight in the early morning hours of January 1, and said Thomas was furious and swearing at Linda and Linda asked for a divorce. Then the neighbor heard glass breaking, things being knocked, and a huge bang and a jolt that knocked a photo off the neighbor’s wall. She never heard anything from Linda after that.

Evidence & Arrest

On January 20th, three weeks after Linda’s disappearance, the police scoured the Skeek apartment and a vehicle. Blood evidence was discovered in the home, and it is thought that Linda was killed there, and the perpetrator tried to clean up the crime spectacle. There were bloodstains in the bathroom, in the basement crawl space, on the kitchen wall, and in the passenger compartment of the couple’s vehicle. The dryer included clothing that looked as if it had been washed with too much bleach, and there was a notation on the calendar for January 1 that said: “2:30 am Linda walked off.” Police later understood that Thomas had purchased bleach, ammonia, and Lysol after Linda’s disappearance.

Chillingly, one of the couple’s kids told their great-uncle that she had glimpsed Linda’s feet in the downstairs bathroom with “blood all around it” on the night of her disappearance.

After the search was finalized, Thomas was charged with killing and information tampering in her case.

When he was caught, police noted a probable human bite mark on his right arm as well as some bruising on his neck, collarbone, back, and hip.

March 2019 Trial

To this day detectives have never been able to discover Linda or her corpse, though she is supposed deceased. “No-body” trials are notoriously hard to process, and Thomas’s trial was no unique.

At his 2019 trial, his defense insisted that there was not sufficient evidence (!) to substantiate that Linda was deceased and that if she was, the information was insufficient to substantiate that her husband was credible. According to his attorney, Linda could have been the casualty of a random assailant, could have been hit and murdered by a drunk driver, or intentionally walked out of her life.

After just three hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Thomas of all charges.

Theories

The Random Attacker Theory: This assumption is premised on Thomas’s contention that Linda fled the apartment at 2:30 a.m. and was never glimpsed again. Not only does this assumption rest solely on Thomas’s (most likely forged) timeline of events, but it infers that a random assailant on New Year’s Day, would have the reason, wherewithal, and/or privacy to killing Linda in, say, a robbery went bad, and then dispose of her corpse in such a manner that she has still never been discovered. That looks like a lot of work for a random assault where there is no connection between the perpetrator and the victim, who only had $40 on her person at the time.

The Boyfriend/Lover Theory: It is a fact aided by detectives that Linda was seeing at least one other man during the time that she was deeming getting a divorce from Thomas. Generally, there are concerns regarding whether Linda might have potentially reached another unknown man after she left the apartment that morning and this anonymous man is credible for her disappearance. There are a few things that could, theoretically, give this assumption some weight. Especially, the fact that Linda had been known to go missing for the weekend to being drink, and partake in extramarital affairs. It is feasible that she left her home, hooked up with someone either at or leaving a bar, and met with foul play later. Since she was known to go missing for days at a time, it stands to motive that the hesitation in Thomas’ reporting her missing is not that nefarious. Nonetheless, this theory does not clarify much of the physical evidence discovered within the Skeek apartment and car. Nor does there appear to be any other information (calls, text messages, bar witnesses)that supports this theory. Further, the neighbor did not listen to Linda exit the apartment after she heard the argument between the couple early that morning.

The Drunk Driver Theory: This is like the boyfriend assumption in that it presumes Linda ever left the apartment that morning. I also have a tough time believing that her corpse would have been picked up and eliminated by a drunk driver, again, on New Year’s Day, rather than it being a case of an ordinary hit and run where the perpetrator leaves the scene.

The Walk-Out Theory: I’m not someone who commonly turns up my nose at assumptions that involve people walking out on their lives and/or dying by suicide. As someone who has strived with serious depression. dissociative states, and suicidal ideation while also masking a lot of my battles to the outside world I understand that people’s behaviors frequently do not make sense—even to those who truly think that they know their loved ones inside and out. Nonetheless, in this case, the walkout theory holds very small water. According to Linda’s family, “If you go through Linda’s Facebook you will see how adorable she was, excited about life, a loving family, and just a true mother,” Sheldon wrote. “There have been times when she left home but nearly always called a family member to get home, to let us know she was OK, concerned about her kids or concerned about her job.” Linda may have strived, but it was obvious from many of her previous actions, that her first instinct in times of difficulty was to reach out to her family members. She appears to have had a good support system that would have assisted her (and her kids) should she have wished to leave Thomas that morning. Nonetheless, she never contacted anyone after January 1st.

The Domestic Homicide Theory: The most likely strategy is that Linda was, sadly, killed by her husband Thomas Skeek, Jr. during their domestic conflict on the morning of January 1st. Though there may be issues encircling the circumstances (premeditated versus heat of the moment), the location of her corpse, and whether Thomas had assistance with disappearing her (Linda is listed as being 5’10—I note this only because they lived in an apartment building and she was not a tiny woman could have easily fit in a suitcase or moveable bag to be transported inconspicuously ), it appears abundantly clear that Skeek knows more than he is confessing to. Nonetheless, I have to believe that there must be more data than has been given in news articles and links since it was such a brief jury deliberation, and the result appears counter to the evidence that had been presented. I understand that “no-body” cases are infamous for allowing certain perpetrators to walk free; it is difficult to prove someone’s death or their manner-of-death without a corpse, and I’m led to speculate by Thomas’s statement to her foster mum, that Linda’s corpse is located somewhere extremely hidden or has been demolished beyond recognition (as upsetting as that is to imagine).

Final Thoughts

Considering the sheer amount of physical and circumstantial information that exists, I am at a loss as to how it was so rapidly decided that Thomas should be vindicated of all charges?

I assume that Linda’s background, substance abuse, identity as an indigenous woman, and “promiscuity” factored into the jury’s decision to acquit Thomas. Those characteristics were most likely preyed on by Thomas’s defense lawyers in court.

Beyond the horror of the domestic violence within the wedding, and the effect of her disappearance on Linda’s kids and foster family, what troubles me most, in this case, is that Thomas Skeek, who now has a known past of illegal, troubling, and brutal behavior is free to victimize someone else

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