INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- The walls of the front room of Carolyn Barlow’s two-story house not far from Crown Hill Cemetery are a monument to family and covered with photographs of generations that gaze down and comfort the grand matriarch who’s aware her days are dwindling down.
“I’m in stage-four kidney failure and in July the doctor told me I had twelve months,” she said, “and I’m in hospice care right now and I just need to know.”
What Carolyn needs to know is who killed her son and why in the spring of 2006.
“On April the third they said at about 6:30 he was shot in the back of the head twice in his apartment,” said Carolyn, recalling the message she received from her son’s girlfriend. “She said, ‘Well, there’s been an incident and it's not looking good.’”
William Gooch, Jr., left behind five children, a fiancé, a job at the Indiana Convention Center and a non-violent criminal record that include an arrest for drugs along with a friend who admitted to police that he was at Gooch’s apartment near West 47th Street and Georgetown Road that night.
“The friend of his that was there told me that Billy had sent him to the liquor store and that he wasn’t gone very long,” said Carolyn. “I don’t believe that he don’t know something.”
A cold case investigator said that the witness refused to answer questions and undergo a polygraph examination, leading detectives to wonder if he set Gooch up and opened the door for the killer.
“I know that it had to have been someone that he would have trusted that would come into his apartment and to be behind him like that,” said Carolyn. “Whether it was a set up for whatever reason, I wouldn’t know that.”
With literally dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren, family is a comfort to Carolyn Barlow in her final days, as it was to her husband and son’s father.
“William Gooch, Senior, was a pro bowler here in Indianapolis. He was inducted into the Bowlers Hall of Fame,” said Carolyn, leafing through a scrapbook containing photographs and newspaper clippings depicting a well-dressed young man in a stylish 1950s fedora, a bowling ball in his hands. “It was an all-black bowling alley here at Fun Bowl, but when the team started bowling at other places, they were accepted, but they went all over from California to Detroit to Chicago bowling in tournaments.”
Gooch, Sr. won his share, said the bowler’s widow, often rolling perfect 300 games.
Carolyn fears that after she passes, all that will be left of her family’s stories will be a scrapbook and pictures on a wall and a mystery of who killed her son and why.
“They should come forward. It would look like to me that they would want to clear their conscience but I know people don’t have a conscience anymore,” the grandmother said as a device at her feet hummed and pumped oxygen into a respiratory tube. “It's not only for me. It's for his children that he has left.”
If you know anything about the murder of William Gooch on Indianapolis’ northwest side in 2006, call Crimestoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.