SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Two persons of interest in a double homicide investigation are no longer in custody. It's the latest twist in the investigation into the brutal killings of Don and Helen Willingham. Greene County deputies found the couple stabbed to death in their suburban Springfield home one year ago Wednesday.
People with information who are refusing to talk are slowing the investigation that has spanned twelve months. The sheriff is posting new posters with the couple’s picture around the community hoping to generate the tip that will solve the crime. “These were just two such kind, sweet people,” the couple’s daughter Donna Fedor said.
The Willingham's children say one thing is certain. “They certainly did not deserve to die the way they did,” Fedor said. The one thing they don't know is who killed the couple. “I thought by now someone else would have come forward because surely someone's conscience is really bothering them,” Fedor said.
Last year on April 25 at 5:44 in the morning, Helen Willingham called 911 to report a man broke into their home and attacked her husband. Deputies arrived six minutes later to find the couple died from stab wounds. “For the safety of the community, for the people that live in that neighborhood, I can't imagine going to sleep at night being concerned for their own safety,” Fedor said.
Twelve people are giving officers consistent information. Detectives seized 586 pieces of evidence but it's not enough. “We still need help from the public,” the couple’s son Dave Willingham said. “We plead for them to come forward with that information just to if nothing else give us some peace.”
Sheriff Jim Arnott says he is concerned the two persons of interest are no longer in custody. “People should be concerned in this community and that's why I ask people come forward with the information that they have,” Arnott said. “I don't have the information at this point to move in the direction I need to go today.”
“There is no doubt in my mind it's going to be solved,” Willingham said. “It's just a matter of time.” Since the beginning of the yearlong investigation, family members have said they want to meet the killer face to face to offer them forgiveness. They say it's what their parents would have wanted. “Even if there is never an arrest made here, I know God knows who did it and God's justice is a lot more just than man's,” Fedor said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Greene County Sheriff’s Office at 417-868-4040.