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Murdered in Mt. Juliet: Two years pass since woman found shot

By Debbie Bryce Idaho State Journal • Dec 17, 2015 at 7:04 PM

It’s been months since LoRye and Jerry Gillepsie of Rupert have heard from their two grandchildren.

Without any phone numbers to call, LoRye writes letters. But in the past two years, a Christmas card and photograph have been the only word received from the children of their murdered daughter.

The grandkids, 11-year old Jack McPherson and his sister, 7-year old Rebekah McPherson, reside in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., the same town where their mother, Sara McPherson, was murdered on Halloween 2012, her wedding anniversary.

LoRye said she is contact with the Mt. Juliet police monthly, but no arrest has been made in connection to the killing.

Sara was found inside her car outside a storage center in Mt. Juliet. She had been fatally shot.

Detectives speculated that Sara had possibly gone to the storage site to meet someone. Her body was found by a patrolman at about 1:15 a.m.

Police believe that Sara was killed around 10 p.m. and that she was not the victim of a random murder.

Sara was born and raised in Rupert and graduated from Minidoka High School in 1995. She earned a degree in accounting two years later.

In Boise she met William McPherson who was living in Idaho with a relative. Sara and William relocated to Mt. Juliet,  William’s hometown, and were married on Oct. 31, 2001.

LoRye said at the time of her death, Sara and William were separated and a divorce was in the works.

The police have not publicly named William as a person of interest, and LoRye said the family has been careful not to wage any accusations.

“I asked (William) what happened. I asked him who would do this, and he said that he didn’t know,” LoRye said. “I have never accused him or his mother. My concern was always for my grandchildren and being able to stay in touch with them.”

LoRye said the Mt. Juliet police told her that William had moved in with his mother, and they gave her their phone number. But when LoRye called, the person who picked up said the number was for a boys’ shelter and that no one named William, Jack or Rebekah resided there.

“I called back, and a guy said that they weren’t there and to stop calling,” LoRye said.

Detectives from the Mt. Juliet Police Department did not return calls from the Journal regarding Sara’s death, but LoRye said investigators told her the case had been turned over to the prosecutor.

“I guess that I am optimistically pessimistic,” LoRye said. “Sometime I think we will never find out what happened, but then I hope we do.”

Sara consistently denied violence or abuse in her marriage, but her family suspected that the marriage was troubled.

Her aunt Gayla Moog of Moses Lake, Wash., said she used to spend summers in Idaho with Sara, but it had been 10 years since she had seen her at the time of Sara’s murder.

“Sara was outgoing, had a big smile,” Moog said. “She had this flowing red hair that was just crazy.”

Moog said for the first 10 years of Sara’s marriage, she was the main bread winner, and the summer before she was killed, she and her children visited Sara’s family in Rupert.

But before she could make the trip, William insisted that her family in Rupert pay Sara’s wages and airfare.

“She couldn’t come until they sent the check,” Moog said.

Before losing Sara, LoRye had suffered through tragedy when her oldest son was killed in a car crash 10 years ago.

LoRye said, “It’s been very hard, but our faith helps. We believe that we will be together again.”

Anyone with information about the murder is urged to call the Mt. Juliet Police Department at (615) 754-2550.

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