People Magazine Investigates Recap for American Nightmare
Joy Hibbs was a loving wife and mom who was devoted to her family. She loved the outdoors and did whatever she could to make her children and husband happy.
In 1986, the Gibbs family moved to Croydon, PA. It was a safe, sleepy town with very little crime. Bob and April Adkins also moved in, befriending the Hibbs family.
On April 18, 1991, David Hibbs and his sister Angie went to school as usual. Joy had her coffee and planned on going to work. Her husband Charlie was already at work.
At 1pm David went home, only to find his house on fire—with his mom inside. He tried to go help her, only to see the fire was much worse than he imagined. He started screaming for help as his puppy runs out. A neighbor hears and calls 911.
Charlie is notified and immediately heads home. He is unable to go into the house but is able to see a body come out in a stretcher.
Angie soon gets home and is upset and confused by everything that is happening. At that point, all she is able to see is David with the dog. She then hears the words ‘she didn’t make it’ and knows her mom died.
The family goes over to Charlie’s mom’s house. They are all in shock as they try to make sense of everything.
The Investigation Begins
An investigation begins and it is discovered that all the burners on the stove were lit. A wastebasket is also on fire and flammable material is found near David’s bed, where it is said the fire began. Joy was also found on Dave’s bed.
An autopsy showed that Joy was strangled and stabbed multiple times….and the fire was started after she was killed.
At this point the arson investigation becomes a homicide investigation. It is determined that she was strangled with a computer cord and that the fire occurred around 12:54pm, thanks to a clock found frozen in time.
Neighbors remember the pastor and his associate visited Joy shortly before the murder. They are questioned and the pastor recalls asking her about going to heaven, praying and that at the end, she began crying with what he called ‘tears of joy.’
Pastor Orlando and associate left around 11:50. Both men had lunch with their respective spouses afterward. Pastor Orlando also went tot the dentist that afternoon. This was all confirmed, clearing them as suspects.
It is also reported that a blue Monte Carlo was found at the house shortly before the murder. At first, it is hard to find the owner, but later on, it is discovered that Bob and April Adkin had one.
Suspects and Motive
David remembers that the Adkins and his mother fought shortly before the murder. The fight began over a marijuana sale and escalated to slashed tires, kicked in doors……and the murder.
By now, the Adkins no longer live in the neighborhood. They also claim that they were in the Poconos the day of the murder. A check of the hotel they stayed at confirms this, so Bob is asked to take a polygraph. However, he refused. Police want to get a search warrant, but due to the alibi and the fact they cannot prove the Monte Carlo belonged to Bob.
At this point, Charlie is also questioned in the murder. Authorities wondered that he might have felt pressured to marry Joy because she was pregnant out of wedlock. They were also suspicious of the fact that he was a biker and wondered if he had a temper.
David and Angie are also questioned about their parents’ relationship.
Charlie is eventually cleared of all suspicions. At this point, he tries to rebuild what is left of the house. As he is cleaning, he finds a flannel shirt with spots of blood. He recalls April wearing it to his house and reports it to the police. However, there is no evidence connecting her or Bob to the murder.
The case goes cold. Charlie sells the house after a year and a half.
In 2014, investigators begin to look into old cases and the case is reopened.
The Adkins family is investigated again. Everything from DNA, the shirt to the alibi are looked into again, but as of 2021, an arrest had not been made.
A New Hope….and an Arrest
The Hibbs talk to investigators, sharing their frustration. They are told to go to the DA’s office, where they talk about the case some more. There is a plan in place and the Hibbs family hope that they will finally get some answers.
On May 25h, 2022, Robert Adkins is finally arrested for the murder of Joy Hibbs. April testified that he admitted to stabbing someone and setting their house on fire, but did not realize it was Joy. She admitted to not saying anything earlier because she was terrified of Bob.
Bob is awaiting trial.