In the summer of 2015, Edward Goodwin disappeared from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, leaving behind his son Gage, 15 at the time, and his devoted parents Connie Goodwin and Ed Goodwin. After Connie spent two years fighting for justice for her son, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office found 40% of Edward’s remains after draining some water from a small lake in Poplar Bluff. Since that was sufficient for an investigation and trials against the accused persons, the authorities didn’t look for the rest of Edward’s remains. However, the mother wanted to find closure and lay her son to rest by burying him in a dignified manner.

“They promised they were going to go back, even in the newspaper they said they were going to go back, but they never did,” Connie told PEOPLE. Connie said that she called them almost every day “trying to find out when they were going to do it.” But there “was always a reason” as years passed by. “Either because of other crimes going on or the weather,” she said, per New York Post.

The last time the authorities visited in 2021, they lacked the tools necessary to drain the remaining muddy water according to Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs. Connie says she told them months ago, “If they don’t do it, I told them that one of these days, I’m going to do it myself.” Now, seven years later, Connie along with her husband and grandson who is now 22 years old used a leased sump pump to empty the pond discovering the last of remains of Edward.

They arrived at the pond on Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m and started pumping out water. Two hours later, they saw “two bones sticking up, so we kept pumping and then the next thing you know we started seeing the concrete blocks and then barbed wire and more bones,” Connie described. “The next thing you know, my grandson, he’s tall and slender-built, took off in a running stance through that mud,” Connie said. “It was up to his knees.” Gage, who is a “spitting image of his daddy” has been deeply impacted over the years by his father’s murder.

Jim Akers, the Butler County Coroner, was summoned and immediately arrived at the site. Akers started hand-digging the skeleton remains out of the pond when the last of the water had been removed. He was knee-deep in the dirt. “The mud was two to three feet deep, very thick, and infested with wildlife,” Akers said. He confirmed that dental records have proven the bones are those of Edward.

Now that they can finally give him a decent burial place, the family is relieved. “It was a sad day. It was a joyful day, too, because we could bring our son home,” Connie said. She fondly remembers her son as “a loving father; he was a loving son, and he’d do anything for anyone.” Edward’s killers Eldred Smith and Ricky Hurt pleaded guilty in 2021 and are now imprisoned for the murder.