When retired Troup County resident Donna Adams decided to spend her summers working at a Montana park, she never imagined she would be a witness in a high profile murder case.
Adams has spent her last seven summers working at Glacier National Park, and this past summer caught the aftermath of a newlywed woman finding her husband dead at the bottom of the cliff. The murder, called the “Montana Newlywed Murder” on several media outlets, has attracted national news coverage since its happened last July.
The 22-year-old newlywed, Jordan Graham, and a few of her family members had gone to the park to search for her husband who had been missing for several days. When she found a body, resembling that of her husband of eight days, lying at the bottom of a cliff, she made her way to the Lake McDonald lodge at the park to call 911.
Adams, working as an Assistant Location Manager, was summoned to the location after receiving news of the 911 call.
Graham was taken into Adams’ office to be interviewed by park rangers.
“She didn’t cry a tear,” Adams recalled. “I asked her if she needed water or tissue and if she needed to call his mom and she said no she’ll find out. She was just so matter-of-fact like.”
The emotionless newlywed said she thought the body to be that of her husband, Cody Graham, because the body was wearing the same clothes from the last time she had seen him, when she said he had supposedly left for a hiking trip at the park with his friends.
“She said she knew where to go look for the body because he had told her he always wanted to hike at that spot,” said Adams.
As Jordan Graham spoke, she still remained without emotion, but her friend who had also been with Jordan at the time of the discovery was very distraught.
“She was just too calm,” Adams said.
Evidence in the case later revealed that Cody Graham had not been at the park with his friends on the day of his July 7 death, but instead had been with his wife. A camera at the entrance of the park takes a picture of everyone who enters the park, said Adams, and Jordan Graham was seen in one of the pictures with her husband that day.
Days prior to finding Cody Grahams’s body, reports say that Jordan Graham created a fake email account and sent herself an email as one of Cody Graham’s friend indicating that he had fallen off of a cliff at the park.
Jordan Graham reported her husband missing on July 8, according to reports.
As more questions began to implicate Jordan Graham, on July 16 she admitted to pushing her husband off of a cliff, but insisted that it was an accident. She told investigators that she and her husband had an argument at the park, during which she accidentally knocked him off the cliff when he grabbed her arm. They had gone to the park that day to talk about her reservations about their marriage.
“I don’t think it was an accident,” said Adams. “She would’ve called 911 immediately if it was and said ‘We had an argument, he grabbed my arm and I pushed him and he fell.’” It would’ve been believable if she reported it immediately.”
Graham’s was charged with first-degree murder and making false statements.Adams testified last Tuesday in the trial that began that Monday, before a plea deal was announced Thursday in court. Graham pleaded guilty to second degree murder and the previous charges were dropped in exchange for her plea.
Adams said this incident is not new to the park as deaths do happen occasionally on the rocky lands and hopes to stay away from courtrooms in the future.
“I was real nervous in there and I hope to God that I never have to do anything like that again,” she said.