Judith Smaltz was born on November 25, 1945, to Barney and Nancy Smaltz. Barney was a physician who worked in the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, MS, and Nancy worked in a law office in Grenada, MS, where they resided. Judith had one younger sister who had been named LeeAnn.
Judith didn’t do well in school and hated having to attend. She wanted to drop out, but her parents wouldn’t hear of it, so she finished high school. She didn’t go on to college.
She married Donald Gilmore in 1965, and her parents disowned her. She hasn't seen or heard from either of them since.
She gave birth to a son, Kevin, on March 26, 1967. She felt like she had the perfect family and when Kevin got older, he received a scholarship to the University of Mississippi. He was a standout basketball star. She and Donny were very proud of him.
Even though Judy had to work at low-paying jobs and regretted that she couldn’t give her son the things she would have liked, she was still happy. Donny was a good man and they had a good marriage with a wonderful son.
Judy’s life felt apart on December 13, 1987 when the body of her son was discovered on the side of Hathorn Road in Oxford, MS. Kevin's death was suspicious, but no one was officially implicated or arrested.
During the years after Kevin's death, she and Donny drifted apart. They stayed married, but Donny got past the death and couldn't deal with Judy's constant dwelling on it. Judy made daily trips to the cemetery to visit the grave of their son.
LeeAnn spent a lot of time with Judy during those years and helped her. She convinced Judy to see a doctor, who got her set up with a counselor. Judy finally adjusted to her son's death, but it took nearly two years. She and Donny mended their relationship and life went back to normal between them.
Judy and Donny both had to work hard to survive. Judy couldn't hold down a job during those two years, and their financial situation worsened. They went on food stamps for a while before Judy went back to work as a cook and baker at small cafes. She became very well-known locally for the pies and cakes she made.
In 1992, Judy decided that instead of making money for others, she would be smart and try to get a loan to open her own small bakery. In 1994, she opened, Cozy Cove Cupcakes. To drum up business, she went out on the streets giving away samples of her cakes, pies and breads. Her business blossomed.
As her business grew, Donny quit his job and joined her at the bakery. They finally became financially sound and life was good and on September 14, 2001, they bought their own home.
Judy and her husband became good friends with Detective Anderson during those years, and he kept them informed if there was any new information. Detective Anderson had left the YCSD in 1997, but he kept on checking unofficially on every clue that he thought might be connected to the Kevin's death, but the case remained a mystery.
On June 19, 2011, Yoknapatawpha County Detective Ted Armstrong contacted Judy to inform her that the Sheriff's Department was now actively investigating her son's case once again.