Family mystery may never be solved

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

Clifford Webber’s badly decomposed body was discovered on Tuesday morning in an abandoned home on Clovis’ West 14th Street. Police soon arrested his girlfriend and charged her with stabbing him in the chest.

But Webber’s death is not the only one on his family members’ minds today. It has sparked memories of another personal tragedy — the violent death of Webber’s mother in 1983.

They believe Sandra Glover was also a victim of homicide, which young Clifford may have witnessed.

Police said they have no plans to revisit the 26-year-old Glover case because time and the deaths of all the key witnesses would make it impossible to solve.

But the police incident report detailing Glover’s death does raise multiple questions about how she died.

Sandra Glover’s death

On the afternoon of March 18, 1983, an ambulance crew rushed Sandra Glover’s lifeless body to Clovis’ High Plains Hospital, where emergency room staff were unable to revive her.

Her live-in boyfriend told police she was having a seizure when “he left and went upstairs to fix an air vent,” in their home at 1200 Ash Street. When the boyfriend returned, Glover had fallen to the floor and wasn’t breathing, the police report said.

An autopsy determined Glover, 32, had suffered trauma to the brain from blows to the top of the head. Her boyfriend denied any connection to the death, then hired an attorney, refusing to talk further with police.

The incident report notes the autopsy findings, which includes the coroner’s inability to determine whether blows to the head were “inflicted by other persons.” The case was listed as “exceptionally cleared” and concludes there was “no evidence to indicate foul play.”

The report lists then-detectives Bill Carey and Jay Longley as officers who handled the investigation.

Carey, who retired as police chief in 2006, said he doesn’t remember the case, but that any suspicious deaths he worked were always “looked into pretty hard.”

Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders said he talked with Longley about the case on Thursday and learned detectives followed leads that were not documented in the report.

“Police work back in 1983 was a whole lot different than it is today,” Sanders said.

Sanders said detectives had no physical evidence to help in their investigation and nothing to prove how the blows to Glover’s head occurred.

He said the detectives looked into several rumors, including one account given by Glover’s boyfriend that she fell off a ladder.

Sanders said detectives revisited the Glover case briefly late last week after reviewing a copy of the incident report when the Clovis News Journal asked for a copy.

Detectives learned Glover’s boyfriend died about four years ago at age 75.

“If (the boyfriend) … was still alive, we could go back and look into it,” Sanders said. “But at this particular stage, I don’t think there’s much more we can do. … I think he has probably taken what happened to Ms. Glover to the grave with him.”

Family reaction

“Well I guess that takes care of that, doesn’t it,” Sandra’s brother, Boyce Glover of Friona, said Friday upon learning the boyfriend had died.

“I think in the end, God will take care of everything.”

Boyce Glover said his sister developed a drinking problem after her marriage to Webber’s father fell apart. She also took medication for seizures. So it’s possible she suffered head injuries in a fall. But family members don’t believe that’s what happened. They suspect foul play.

“We always thought that (she was murdered), but there was nothing ever to come of it,” Boyce Glover said. “I understand that one of the police officers at the time was going to keep looking, but I don’t think anything ever came of it.”

Sandra’s only son, 11-year-old Clifford, was in the house when she died and probably saw it happen, Boyce Glover said. “But he never said anything. We never could prove it.”

Glover believes Clifford was abused as a child, which led to his own substance and alcohol abuse problems.

Now Boyce Glover said Clifford will join his mother at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery north of Clovis.