Paula Knudson Ferbache went to work at Walmart one day last August and never came home. Her body, covered in stab wounds, was found the next day, several miles away in the trunk of her car.
It may be almost a year later when the man accused of her murder stands trial. Scott Riggs, 40, stood silent in an Elmore County courtroom during a plea hearing this week, prompting a judge to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Riggs is charged with first-degree murder. His Aug. 23 trial is expected to last 20 days; for now, he remains in the Elmore County jail.
Both Ferbache and Riggs worked at Walmart, according to previous court testimony, and Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said Ferbache was also Riggs’ landlady.
Authorities haven’t said why Riggs might have killed Ferbache, 71. She suffered wounds to her abdomen, chest, neck and hand that punctured her lung, cut her airway and sliced through her carotid artery and jugular vein.
Ferbache’s husband reported her missing last Aug. 25 after she did not return home from work. The vehicle she was found in the next morning had been abandoned several miles outside Mountain Home, near Southeast Hamilton Road, off of U.S. Old Highway 30. That’s about a mile from the home that Riggs lived in, according to testimony from a preliminary hearing in February.
A knife was also found in the area, near a ditch bank. Prosecutors at the February hearing said Riggs in March 2017 purchased two knives from the Airman Pawn shop in Mountain Home.
If convicted, Riggs faces up to life in prison.