At Lake Adelle, the Dead, the Missing and Those Left Behind

Tanya Gould grew up next to Lake Adelle in Jefferson County.
Tanya Gould grew up next to Lake Adelle in Jefferson County. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY EVAN SULT

On May 28, a Jefferson County woman whom we'll call Sarah pulled her car into the driveway of her house on Lake Drive in Cedar Hill. Her house looks out over Lake Adelle, a fishing spot with a few dozen homes built around it. Some of the lawns in the neighborhood are littered with old barrels and rusted car parts, but the place is not without its charm. In addition to fishing, the water is good for floating on an inner tube or paddling a raft around. That Friday, as Sarah got out of her car, her 36-year-old neighbor Anthony Legens came out of his house and rushed toward her.

"Come on over to my place. I want you to be my girlfriend and buy you things," Legens said, according to Sarah's father. "I'll take care of you. Nobody will ever hurt you. Come on over."

Legens cut an intimidating figure. A thicket of tattoos covered his hulking chest and arms. The words "white power" were inked in block letters across his stomach.

Sarah had reason to be wary beyond the bizarre nature of the manic appeal. Detectives had been up and down Lake Drive over the past several weeks inquiring as to the whereabouts of a missing man, 36-year-old Jerry Crew, reportedly last seen at Legens' home. The police had even asked to look at the footage from the security cameras mounted on the house where Sarah lived in the hopes that it might prove their suspicion that Crew had entered Legens' place but never exited. According to one neighbor, Legens had kept the "routine of a vampire" since returning from jail in 2020, sleeping all day and running loud power tools in his house all night. Thoroughly freaked out, Sarah ran to a neighbor's house and hid there as the night unfolded in dramatic fashion.

Before sunset, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office were on the scene. An armored SWAT team vehicle parked outside Legens' house. The sheriff's office later said that "once the deputies arrived" Legens opened fire, shooting at police vehicles and deputies, striking one below his tactical vest. (The deputy was rushed to the hospital and has recovered.) The deputies pulled the front door off Legens' house and, according to neighbors, threw flash bangs and tear gas inside. Several hours after opening fire, Legens attempted to escape out of a side window. A deputy shot him before he could get away, and Legens died just over the property line on Sarah's skinny side yard.

Inside the house, deputies found a dead body, but it didn't belong to Jerry Crew.

Crew's mother, Dana Crew, watched coverage of the shootout on the news that night. Her son and Legens were cousins; Dana Crew is Legens' aunt. Since reporting her son missing on April 22, Crew had been going to Lake Drive "two or three times a day," begging the sheriff's office to arrest her nephew and search his house, she says.

After the Friday night shootout, a sheriff's spokesman reported the body belonged to a woman. She had apparently been dead long before Legens' final showdown with SWAT officers. Confirming her identity took several days, but investigators were eventually able to use dental records to officially identify her as Tanya Gould, a 31-year-old who had grown up just on the other side of Lake Adelle.

Crew, watching this all unfold from home, was now even angrier at the sheriff's office. In her opinion, they'd bungled the search for her son. Now she felt like they let this 31-year-old woman die because of their inaction. "For weeks, I kept trying to tell them that Anthony has weapons in there, he's selling drugs, and he's a convicted felon. So why couldn't they get a warrant to go in there?" Crew says. "But they waited until the guy killed the girl in there, and then they go in."

Crew is correct that sheriff's deputies didn't go into Legens' house until after Gould was killed, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Detectives had been surveilling the house for weeks. Sheriff David Marshak said they'd gotten "search warrants for some technology" but couldn't get a warrant to enter the house. According to Marshak, investigators had "numerous conversations with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office about the evidence they had obtained," but time and again it was deemed insufficient to enter Legens' house. (Prosecutors didn't respond to requests for comment for this story.)

"Well, it's too late now," Dana says. "Because the two people that knew where my son was are both deceased."

"What the hell have you done?"

Dana Crew says that, growing up, her son was "a great kid, a wonderful kid. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do without to give to somebody else."

In 2005, twenty years old at the time, Jerry Crew had a child with a woman named Tiffany, and though they separated, the two remained friends.

While living in south St. Louis in the mid-aughts, Crew committed a series of minor crimes. Then, in 2009, robbery and armed criminal action convictions landed him in prison for a little more than decade. While incarcerated, he developed diabetes and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which eventually caused him to require a colostomy bag.

Crew was released from prison in October 2020, and two days later he overdosed, according to a post he made on Facebook. Then in December he had to be hospitalized for issues related to his diabetes.

Crew's mother said her son seemed lost. "So much had changed in the years he'd been locked up," she says. "I kept telling him it's not like it used to be, it's not like it used to be."She took him to get a driver's license and showed him how to use a smartphone. She helped him set up a Facebook account so he could reach out to old friends.

In 2021, he moved in with his cousin at Lake Adelle.

Jerry Crew was reported missing in April. - COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Jerry Crew was reported missing in April.

While living at Legens', he messaged Ashley Pound, a woman whom Facebook suggested he might know. In retrospect, Pound says, Crew was probably hitting on her. She told him that she was related to his baby's mother, so that sort of relationship probably wasn't in the cards. But the two kept chatting and quickly became friends.

"He was always fun," Pound says. "He was carefree. He brought everybody's spirits up wherever he was. He always tried to make you feel better if you were upset."

Crew was nothing if not social. Even while locked up he called his mother at least every other day. If he didn't have anything in particular to say, he still wanted to know what she was up to. While living with Legens he messaged Pound daily. The messages were always lighthearted. He sent her a video of a large pizza delivery that had come to the house. "Come eat some pizza!" he exclaimed. In another message he tried to hook Pound up with Legens.

"I'm glad I didn't go through with that," Pound says.

Then, on April 22, both she and his mother stopped hearing from him.

A few days later, Dana Crew had grown increasingly worried and went to the house on Lake Drive where she says she found Legens and a woman outside on the front lawn.

"Where's my son?" Crew asked.

"Oh, at some chick's house," Legens replied.

Crew asked, "What chick?"

Legens said he didn't know.

"Why's his car here?" Crew said. "That doesn't even make sense."

She noticed that the woman with Legens looked withdrawn and wore a long-sleeve hoodie even though the temperature was hot. "I know she was covering up bruises," Crew says now.

The following day, April 27, Crew reported her son missing. A few hours later, she got a text from Legens. "I guess you're the fucking one who called the police," he wrote. "You know I don't like cops."

Multiple residents of Lake Drive told the RFT that during the six weeks leading up to the shootout, detectives worked the neighborhood trying to find information about Jerry Crew. Andie Strange, who lived across the street from Legens, says deputies knocked on her door in late April asking her if she'd seen Crew. Around this same time, deputies spoke to Sarah's landlord about the house's security camera footage. Another neighbor says there are two ways in and out of Lake Drive, and he often saw deputies posted at both of them.

Dana Crew also staked out Legens' house, going to Lake Drive multiple times most days. "I would sit in my car down the road and call the police and tell them Anthony was outside working on this car," she says. "'This is the perfect time to question him,' I'd say. Every time they went there, he would run in the house and wouldn't answer the door."

Before long, Crew says, she was calling investigators daily to give them updates. If she saw Legens leave the property, she called sheriff's deputies to tell them what kind of car he was driving and implore them to pull him over. (Multiple people, including a relative of Legens, say he had no driver's license.)

During one of Crew's frequent trips to Legens' house, she says, she made her way to the backyard and sifted through the fire pit, fearing that Legens might have burned some of her son's clothes or other evidence. She peered into the back windows but couldn't see anything inside.

Detectives did find a video of Jerry Crew at a Cedar Hill gas station on April 21, the day before Dana Crew and Ashley Pound last heard from him. Sheriff's investigators were able to identify multiple people in the video with him. However, when they tracked the people down and interviewed them, they "were reluctant to speak about Anthony for fear of repercussions," according to Marshak. In general, the sheriff says, potential witnesses didn't want to cooperate with them because they feared Legens.

Anthony Legens was a chaotic presence at Lake Adelle, neighbors say. - COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Anthony Legens was a chaotic presence at Lake Adelle, neighbors say.

In an interview, Marshak says even though investigators "felt like something may have happened inside [Legens' house], they lacked the proof and probable cause necessary to lawfully enter the residence. Law enforcement must establish probable cause based on facts, not hunches, and that's a good thing for protecting citizen rights."

About a week before Legens' shootout with sheriff's deputies, Dana Crew was doing her usual drive-through of Lake Drive when she saw a neighbor standing outside the house across the street from her nephew's home. Crew parked and got out to ask the woman if she knew anything.

The next thing Crew knew, Legens was there and in her face.

"Get the fuck out of here!" he screamed, according to Dana. "Get the fuck out of here!"

"No, I won't," she replied. "You did something to my kid. You know your mom and dad are looking down on you. They're thinking, 'What the hell have you done?'"

"Just get out of here." He waved his hands. "Get out of here."

Crew says she called 911 and several officers arrived, but nothing came of it.

On the evening of May 28, she returned to Lake Adelle but found the neighborhood blocked off. Police redirected her to a nearby shopping center, the large parking lot of which was being used by the sheriff's office as a staging area. Officers said she couldn't be there either but that there would be a press conference when the situation on Lake Drive was resolved.

News trickled out of Lake Adelle over the weekend. Marshak, the Jefferson County sheriff, told KMOV (Channel 4) that night that a deputy had been shot while serving a search warrant related to a missing person. The shooter, who would soon be identified as Legens, was dead. Then came word of another body found, but it wasn't Jerry Crew. Dana Crew didn't know the woman who had been killed, but she soon saw the photos of Tanya Gould that circulated online after the shootout. She realized she had seen her before on Lake Drive. Gould was the woman who was wearing a hoodie in the heat.

She brought happiness and joy and didn't even realize it"

Tanya Gould grew up with her mom, dad and older brother on Lake Adelle. She's remembered as having had a knack for fitting in with just about any crowd. She got along well with the "down home" country folks of Jefferson County as well as the people a bit rougher around the edges. She flourished for several years in the upper middle class St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, too.

Curtis Bollinger, who has lived off and on at Lake Drive for a decade, says Gould mocked the local tweakers to their faces, but did so in a way so sly that they laughed along and didn't know they were being made fun of. One time, outside Bollinger's house, a shirtless Lake Adelle man who was high on meth climbed the utility pole carrying a screwdriver, intent on restarting his cable service. Gould happened to be driving by. She slowed and rolled down the window. "Hey, Charter guy," she yelled. "The company can't spring for a ladder?"

Daisha Lipp, who now lives in St. Louis, met Gould fifteen years ago when Lipp transferred to Grandview High School in tiny Ware, Missouri. Lipp described the school as "real country" and "a total culture shock" compared to where she'd gone before. She felt like an outcast. But Gould went out of her way to welcome Lipp to the school, and the two quickly became best friends.

Lipp describes Gould as a "total hippie" who loved painting and music. "She was one of those people that just anywhere she went, she brought happiness and joy," Lipp says. "And she didn't even realize it."

Gould's joy was often in stark contrast to her family life, which was defined by adversity and loss. Lipp recalls a day in high school when she and Gould were driving down a country road and Gould stopped to pick up a homeless woman. The two girls gave her a ride and then the woman stole everything from the back of Gould's car. It was only later that Lipp realized the woman was Gould's mom, Cindy, who was dealing with drug addiction and had been kicked out of the family house.

Later in high school, Lipp spent the night at Gould's house, and when they woke up, Cindy made the family pancakes. She had gotten sober and rejoined the family.

Tragedy first struck Gould's family in 2007 when she, age seventeen at the time, and her parents went on a cruise. They came back to find her older brother Daniel dead of an overdose. It was Gould who discovered his body.

Around 2010, when Gould was in her early twenties, she met Bob Wiggins, who was seven years older and whom Gould quickly identified as her kindred spirit. "I have never seen two people who are so happy and so in love," Lipp says. About a year into their relationship, Gould and Wiggins moved to Kirkwood, where Gould found work as an administrative assistant at a printing company. They got engaged. But in 2016, Wiggins died unexpectedly from a heart attack.

Grief stricken, Gould moved back in with her mom and dad at Lake Adelle. Gould had always had a habit of belting out Janis Joplin songs, Lipp says, but after her fiancé's death, "Me and Bobby McGee," a tune Gould sang often, held a special importance to her.

"She stayed positive still. She always tried to stay positive," Lipp says. "But she just couldn't find happiness. I think that Anthony saw that in her and used that."

Tanya Gould worked to stay positive despite a rash of tragedies, friends say. - PROVIDED
PROVIDED
Tanya Gould worked to stay positive despite a rash of tragedies, friends say.

In Lipp's assessment, Legens took advantage of the fact that Gould wanted so badly to find the type of love she'd had with her former fiancé. Legens had been a friend of Gould's brother and grew up across the lake from Gould, her backyard facing his on opposite shores. The lake is not particularly large, less than a tenth of a mile across, and on a quiet day, two people speaking loudly can have a conversation across the water. Gould and Legens hadn't grown up friends, exactly, but they grew up knowing each other.

At some point in 2019, the two started dating. Legens' family had also endured a series of tragedies. In 2013, his father passed away in his early 50s from COPD. His mother, Donna, died in 2017 when an armored car struck a car she was riding in. Legens was in prison for assault and felonious restraint when his mother died, and by the time he was released, he had inherited the family's house on Lake Adelle as well as a chunk of life insurance and settlement money from the accident.

Lipp says she visited Legens' house once when Gould first began dating him. "It was just scary," she says. "He was a very scary person. Just passing him in the yard didn't feel good."

After Gould moved in with Legens, she'd typically call Lipp on Facetime even though Gould knew Lipp hated video chat. Soon Lipp realized Legens was paranoid about Gould texting with other men, and using Facetime was her way to appease him.

At some point in 2019, Legens went back to jail for about eight months. His criminal history is lengthy, and it's hard to know for sure if, during this specific stretch, he was in jail on a pending DWI case or because he violated probation for the assault conviction. Either way, Gould took care of Legens' house during that time.

In December 2020, after Legens was released, Gould sent messages to one of his relatives whom she knew from her time taking care of the house. The text messages included graphic photos of her beaten face. In the messages, she referred to Legens as "a woman beater, a liar, a thief." She described his house as "scarier than anywhere else."

"I look like an alien," she said in a text message, referring to the bruises.

The relative encouraged Gould to go to the police, stay away from Legens and only go back to get her things from his house if she was accompanied by a police officer. Legens' relative took Gould's photos to the sheriff's office.

"The sheriff's department knew exactly who [Legens] was. They knew everything about him," the relative says. "I showed them the pictures of Tanya and I said, 'I'm scared for her life. He held her hostage for three days. He beat her.'"

She says deputies told her they couldn't do anything unless Gould pressed charges.

Then, four months later, in April, this same relative of Legens contacted Dana Crew after her son was reported missing. "I contacted [Crew] and I told her, 'Listen, I got tons of text messages from this woman. I'm scared. I think something bad is gonna happen.'"

In the early days of the investigation into Jerry Crew's disappearance, the detectives began speaking with Cindy Gould, who told them her daughter had suffered a long history of domestic abuse at the hands of Legens. At some point in the weeks after Crew went missing, Gould briefly left Legens and stayed at her mother's house on the other side of the lake. Deputies went to ask Gould about Crew. Gould said she wanted a lawyer.

Crew's family members are adamant they have no animosity toward Gould and understand she herself was a captive of Legens.

Daisha Lipp, Gould's friend of fifteen years, sums up the dynamic between Legens and Gould this way: "It's just as a matter of survival when you're in that situation. You're not thinking about the big picture. You're always just thinking, 'What can I do right now to stay safe to keep him happy?' You can't think that far ahead, to actually get a plan to get away. It's so difficult to even make that plan. You're always thinking only about your very next move."

Lipp points out that the place Gould would have fled to, her mother's, was just across the lake, easily within range of Legens' terror. In fact, multiple neighbors told the RFT that Legens had at one point taken Cindy Gould hostage, destroyed her phone so she couldn't call police and tried to cut the propane line to blow up the tank on her property.

This April, Michael Gould, Tanya's dad, died of cancer, leaving Cindy alone in the family's house on Lake Adelle, increasingly concerned for her daughter's well-being at Legens' house across the water. Two and a half weeks after Jerry Crew went missing, Cindy stopped hearing from Tanya. On May 9, Cindy reported her daughter missing.

A foul odor and a body in a container

After six weeks of failing to get a warrant to enter Legens' house, on May 28 the Jefferson County sheriff's detectives finally got their probable cause. Legens had asked a man to come over to his house and help him with something. Once inside, the man noticed a foul smell permeating the residence. According to Marshak, Legens asked this man to help move a large plastic storage container and Legens said that inside the container was the body of Tanya Gould. The container was bulging, and Legens "was acting erratic and snorted a controlled substance in the witness's presence." The man fled the house, called police, and a search warrant was granted.

After the man fled but before police arrived, neighbors say, Legens must have had an idea of what was to come. When he approached his neighbor Sarah and frantically asked her to come over to his house, neighbors say what he was really trying to do was procure "a hostage he could use as leverage."

A few hours later, as the shootout ensued, Legens called an attorney who had represented him in a number of cases previously. "Thanks for everything you've done for me," Legens said. "You're the best attorney I ever had."

"Thank you, I'll talk to you next week," the nonplussed attorney replied, only realizing later his client was calling to say goodbye.

It is perhaps fitting that in his final hours Legens reached out to a criminal defense attorney. There of course was a time in his life before he became a criminal, but it seems no one in Cedar Hill can remember when.

His criminal record over the past fifteen years is a mix of drug crimes, DWI busts, resisting arrest convictions and assaults.

In 2015, Legens took hostage a Herculaneum man whose house Legens had been crashing at. He beat the man up, repeatedly threatened to kill him, forced him to shoot up heroin and accused him of posting videos online of the man having sex with Legens' wife.

Pound tells me Legens' nickname around Jefferson County was "Evil." For neighbors around Lake Drive, he was an erratic presence, the source of endless anecdotes.

Cori Puryear, who grew up on Lake Adelle, says that years ago he saw police knock on Legens' front door. Seconds later, Legens ran out the back, "naked except a ball cap covering his privates." Julio, a landlord on Lake Drive, says Legens and his friends would be high on meth in the middle of the night, take a boat out onto the lake and "talk to the fish."

Andie Strange, the neighbor across the street from Legens, told me that things have been calmer on Lake Drive since Legens' death, that she sees more kids riding their bicycles and running around on the street. Julio says he's noticed things have been markedly quieter as well.

Where is Jerry Crew?

Since the shootout on May 28, Legens' house on Lake Drive has sat boarded up and empty, but he still casts a shadow on the neighborhood. Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents have seized much of Legens' property, including cars and cellphones.

"There's a lot of nervous people around here, I guarantee you that," says Julio, noting that whatever information was on Legens' phone is now in federal law enforcement hands. Depending on who you talk to on Lake Drive, Legens was either a run-of-the-mill meth dealer who talked like he was some sort of kingpin or he was actually the biggest meth dealer around. Either way, neighbors say, a lot of people used to come by his house at all hours and didn't stay long.

The Crew family could care less about the information on Legens' cellphones, unless of course it somehow helps them find Jerry, who is still a missing person.

In addition to the gas station video of Crew taken on April 21, electronic records show that he last used his phone and EBT card on that day, too. "Investigators could not find anyone that had seen Jerry after that date," Marshak says. Even if Crew wasn't murdered, his poor health would have demanded constant attention. He required two insulin shots a day.

"One way or the other, Anthony killed him and he did something with him," Paula Backof, Crew's aunt, tells me. "But now it's time to find him. Little Jerry couldn't go anywhere because he needed medicine and he had a colostomy bag. When I went through Anthony's house, I found his insulin, and I found his colostomy bags there."

Marshak says his department has an "incredible amount of data to search," including a month's worth of CCTV footage from the security system Legens had installed in his house.

"We believe Jerry is deceased," the sheriff says, "but currently have no actual proof he was murdered."

When the rest of the Legens family was allowed back inside the house they found two guns in a bucket on the kitchen table and, according to Legens' relative, a bloody jersey that had belonged to Legens in the washer along with some dirty rags and a mophead. The washer was broken and the items inside hadn't been cleaned. An unusual mixture of sand and dirt covered the rags (the family would later find a similar mixture of earth on the head of a shovel). One of Legens' relatives carefully put the rags in a trash bag and tried to give the material to authorities. "Maybe this could help you figure out where Jerry is," he said.

"You watch too much TV," they were told.

Dana Crew feels the sheriff's office has not done enough to find her son. Several other residents of Lake Adelle say they wish investigators had acted sooner.

"There are good days and bad days," Crew says. "Today I'm doing OK. But two days ago I could not hold it together, could not stop crying." August 6 was Jerry's 37th birthday, what would have been his first birthday out of prison with family in more than a decade.

One member of the Legens-Crew family did stress that detectives "were extremely nice," though it often seemed like "their hands were tied because of the system."

Marshak was adamant his department wanted to get into Legens' house sooner, but they weren't going to violate anyone's constitutional rights in order to do so.

Hearts of gold

Cindy Gould reunited with her family, but was the only one left in the end. - PROVIDED
PROVIDED
Cindy Gould reunited with her family, but was the only one left in the end.

There is now a second empty house on Lake Adelle.

In early July, a little more than a month after her daughter was killed, Cindy Gould — the final member of the Gould nuclear family — died in her home. She was found on the back porch, which looks out across the lake onto the house where Tanya was killed. According to the sheriff's department, toxicology tests have not come back yet, but "narcotics involvement is suspected."

Throughout June, in the weeks after the shootout, Cindy Gould and Legens' relative had exchanged a long series of text messages.

Gould began, "I am receiving condolences & I wonder and think, 'Is anyone holding [Anthony's family] up?' I pray for you, your family, Jerry's Mom & rest of family. I have lost both my children. I understand the pain."

Legens' relative replied, "I again can't express how sorry I am for the pain [Legens] has caused to you and so many others. Please know I'm praying for you every day."

"The pain caused was never your fault, praying you don't hang on to baggage of guilt or shame," Gould wrote.

"You truly are an amazing person," Legens' relative responded. "Thank you for being so loving and caring. I see where Tanya got her heart of gold."

Cindy Gould, 63 years old, once stole from her own daughter. Later, she got up early to make her daughter and her daughter's friend pancakes. She had lost her son and husband before losing Tanya. Gould had less than a month to live when she wrote back to the relative of her daughter's killer: "You are pretty amazing yourself hon! Any tiny bit of wisdom I may have comes only from making lots of my own mistakes lol. I wish you all the best, in everything. How proud your mom must be...To see what a wonderful person you are despite all the challenges you've had. Sweet dreams."

Gould punctuated the final text with three emoji: a star, a crescent moon and a tiny box dotted with light which is meant to represent the Milky Way. 0x006E

Ryan Krull is a freelance journalist and assistant teaching professor in the department of communication and media at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times.
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