|Rusty and Becky Porter|
Newly unsealed court documents set the scene as to what investigator's found when the entered the Willard home that Becky and Rusty Porter vanished from in April of 2011. They also reveal more information on the chief suspect in the couple's murders.
Search warrant applications and returns that were sealed by the court for over a year were unsealed in Greene County earlier this month.
Authorities were called to the Porter's home on April 19, 2011, after Becky's daughter, Jessica Ellsworth-Bullock, could not reach her mother for over a day. Court documents say the home reeked of bleach, and investigators found a large amount of a clear substance, believed to be bleach, covering the kitchen/dining room floor.
|Willard home of the Porter's (courtesy Springfield News-Leader)|
Investigators seized over 211 pieces of evidence from inside and outside the residence, according to the documents.
Some of those items included a bullet shell casing, three surveillance cameras and nine computers. Becky Porter's purse, which contained her cell phone, credit cards, identification and cash as well as other valuables were still in the house, according to the documents. It was also discovered that the keys to the couple's newly purchased car were inside the vehicle that was parked in the driveway.
|Tony Lee Friend (mug shot GCSO)|
It appears, from the newly unsealed documents, that Tony Lee Friend, 34, of Springfield, was very familiar with the area of Cedar Creek were Becky and Rusty remains were found. The documents say Friend grew up nearby and that he often visited the exact location.
|Property where the Porter's remains were found (courtesy KSPR)|
"The development of information in the investigation indicated that electronic media (i.e. telephone data) supported the fact that Tony Friend had travelled near the area the same night on April 17, 2011 to April 18, 2011, the victims were believed to have been removed from their residence," Greene County Sgt. Allen Bayer writes in the documents.
On July 24, 2011, a cooperating witness told authorities that Friend told him on multiple occasions that he was responsible for the Porters deaths, and that he used a Blue Ford F-150 to transport the bodies.
The cooperating witness, who was an inmate at the Greene County jail, told investigators that Friend arrived at his girlfriend's home and gave him a maroon leather briefcase in mid June of 2011. He said Friend gave him the combination to the locks, told him not to look inside and to hold on to it "until further notice."
In August of 2011, the witness told detectives that his girlfriend still had possession of the briefcase and they could have it. The woman handed it off to authorities at an area away from her home in order to protect her anonymity due to concern that associates of Friend were "possibly monitoring her residence."
When authorities opened the briefcase they found seventeen rounds of shotgun ammunition, an inert hand grenade, a teal colored surgical knife, toy cars, a PEZ dispenser and salt and pepper shakers...but nothing that directly connects Friend to the double homicide.
At this time, it remains unclear whether investigators have been able to locate the blue pickup or obtain any information from the vehicle.
|Friend's mobile home|
Friend, and his wife Windy, remain jailed on drug charges following a federal raid on their heavily fortified mobile home on May 31st. Tony Friend is also facing a federal weapons charge because authorities allegedly found weapons during the search of the couples home. Because Tony Friend is a convicted felon, it is against the law for him to possess the weapons found when the federal search warrant was served.
Family members of Becky Porter say Tony Friend was a cousin of Rusty Porter's.
Preliminary hearings for the Friend's were postponed earlier this month at the request of their attorney's. They are now scheduled for August 16th in Greene County.
July 21st will mark the one-year anniversary of the discovery of the Porters' remains in Taney County, and still no one has been charged with murders.