More than 11 years after the body of Petaluma trucker Bob Nelson was found dumped off the side of Interstate 85 outside Montgomery, Alabama, authorities have arrested a suspect in the case, apparently linked to the slaying by DNA evidence left in Nelson's rig.
Gary Lee Poisel Jr., 39, was arrested Tuesday in his home state of Texas for suspected murder and first-degree robbery, Alabama state authorities said.
Poisel, who was released from his last stay in prison Jan. 4, is awaiting extradition at the Randall County Jail in Amarillo, where he lives, authorities said.
Nelson's widow, Mary Ann Nelson, while pleased by the arrest, said it also has prompted a new round of mourning for her and her two adult children, Kelly and Bobby.
"It doesn't seem real," Nelson said Thursday, two days after she was informed of the arrest. "My first reaction was I was very, very happy. And of course I broke down into tears because I just never thought they were going to ever find anybody that was related to the case."
July 2 it will be 12 years since her husband's body was found by an inmate work crew along a rural stretch of Highway 85 about 20 miles outside of Montgomery.
A receipt later found in his truck cab indicated Nelson, 59, fueled his big rig in Montgomery two days earlier.
He had been stabbed multiple times with a small knife, including jab that opened an artery in his neck, authorities said.
It would be two weeks before he was identified.
The cab, blood spattered in its interior, was found abandoned about 300 miles away at a north Georgia truck stop - the doors unlocked, the keys in the ignition and Nelson's heart and blood pressure medications inside. It had been there for about two weeks, left there a day or two after Nelson's then-unidentified body was found.