|Rusty and Becky Porter (family photo)|
Searchers on horseback combed three properties and two caves in Willard today (05-04-11) in an attempt to find clues in the disappearance of Becky and Rusty Porter, who have now been missing for seventeen days.
The grid search of 120 acres began at about 7:00 this morning included approximately 40 sheriff's deputies and civilian deputies, tracking dogs and ATV's. Authorities also searched several vehicles in the area and at 1:00 p.m. a backhoe arrived at the site and was being used near a pond and a barn, according to Becky Porter's brother, Darrell Hufft.
Sheriff Jim Arnott told Hufft that they had received a tip that evidence related to the couple's disappearance would be found on the property. "They left with at least one bag of stuff," Hufft said.
|Porter's home in Willard (courtesy Springfield News-Leader)|
After not hearing from her mother for over a day, Becky Porter's daughter reported the couple missing after finding the couples car with the keys in the ignition and the doors to the house wide open. Inside the house were Becky's purse, cell phones, medication, shoes, and relatives say the house reeked of bleach - "the plastic runways they had to protect the hardwood floor were soaked in bleach," according to Hufft.
Security cameras the couple had outside their home were also knocked down.
Hufft says the couple had the cameras because they lived in the country and also because Russell's uncle, Robert Campbell, who lives next door and is an over the road truck driver, had been harassing the couple over a land transfer within the family.
Campbell, his son T. C. and Rusty Porter had each filed orders of protection against each other in the last month before the couple went missing. A consent judgment was granted to each party and they were ordered to steer clear of each other.
|Becky Porter's brother Darrell Huftt|
"Everybody knows what happened, they [authorities] know what happened......they're just trying to prove it. The sheriff told me that they've wanted this guy for twelve years but people don't show up for court or they disappear. When you get someone else to do your dirty work, it's hard to prove."
|Rusty and Becky Porter (GCSO release)|
According to Hufft, family members are beginning to crack under the intense pressure, "Some of them are fighting....it just eats at you."
At one family gathering outside the Porter's home Hufft says R.C. walked up to two of his nieces and snickered, "Their in a better place."
"He thinks he's untouchable," Hufft said.
Yesterday Arnott and relatives of the Porters announced a reward of up to $15,000 for information on their disappearance.
On May 21st friends and family members of the Porter's will have a spaghetti supper at 5 p.m. at Crane Community Center. Proceeds are slated to be added to the reward fund.
The department is not only dealing with the Porter's disappearance - they are also investigating the double homicide last week of an elderly couple that had been married for 52 years.
Helen Willingham called 9-1-1 at 5:44 a.m. on Monday April 25th and told an emergency dispatcher that there was a male intruder in her home who was assaulting her 79 year-old husband, Donald.
|Donald "Don and Helen Willingham|
When authorities arrived at the couple's home 9 minutes later they found the couple dead from multiple stab wounds.
There have been 96 leads, but no arrests in the Wilingham's murders. Authorities have released a surveillance photo of a person of interest that they would like to talk to in the case.
|Do you know this person? Investigators would like to question him about the Willingham's murders|
The family of the Willingham's have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for their loved ones murders.
If you have any information about either of these cases you're asked to call the Greene County Sheriff's Office at 417-868-4040 or 9-1-1.