2:10 PM
Do You Know This Person?  If so, call 417-868-4040 or 9-1-1

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott has released surveillance photo's of a man authorities want to talk to in connection to a double homicide earlier this week.

Arnott says the pictures of the man were taken between 5 and 7 a.m. on Monday April 25th at a nearby Kum N Go not far from where Donald and Helen Willingham were found murdered.  "It is an unidentified person we want to identify," Arnott said.

Do You Know This Person?  If so, call 417-868-4040 or 9-1-1

Seventy nine year-old Helen Willingham called 9-1-1 at 5:44 a.m. and told emergency dispatcher's that there was an intruder in her home at 2919 W. Swan assaulting her 79 year-old husband, Donald.  Helen dropped the phone but dispatcher's could hear a scuffle in the background until the call was disconnected.

Donald "Don" and Helen Willingham

When first responders arrived at the home 9 minutes later they found the couple dead on the floor. Both victims were stabbed multiple times in the chest area.

Two of the Willingham's son's and a niece and her husband made a public plea today for help in tracking down the person/s responsible for their loved ones brutal murders.  Don was a retired minister and the couple had been missionaries in Guam and Jamaica.

Willingham's family members asking for the public's help (courtesy Springfield News Leader)

At a news conference yesterday, Sheriff Arnott said this case is one of the worst he's seen in his twenty years with the sheriff's office.

Shortly after Helen Willingham's 9-1-1 call, emergency dispatcher's received another 9-1-1 call from a neighbor of the elderly couple who said they chased a clean shaven, thin white or Hispanic man with a dark complexion, wearing a hoodie south from the elderly couple's home into nearby woods.

Arnott acknowledged that the description was vague, "but that's all we have to go on."

Do You Know This Person?  If so, call 417-868-4040 or 9-1-1

Two men, one of whom ran from authorities yesterday after asking KSPR reporter Joanna Small what was going on in front of the crime scene were questioned and released.

“One subject had several warrants out for his arrest. There were some resemblances to the description that we have. He decided to run and deputies were able to catch him in the backyard,” Arnott said. “He has been interviewed and also his alibi checked out.”

Arnott believes the suspect, "may have defensive wounds on his body....there was a struggle."

The crime scene that investigators have been processing, "slow and methodical," checking every door and window," is expected to be released today.  Arnott says investigators may have DNA evidence that could be linked to the killer.  "The evidence will be sent to the Highway Patrol crime lab and a rush will be put on it."

Visitation for Doanld and Helen Willingham will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield Funeral service for the couple will be held on Monday May 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church.  Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery.

Anyone who may know who the man in the photo's is or has any information that could assist in the apprehension of who killed the Willingham's is asked to call 417-868-4040 - 9-1-1 or Crimestoppers at 417-869-TIPS (8477). A reward is available for tips that lead to an arrest.


Anonymous said...


Sheriff Releases Picture Of Man Wanted For Questioning In Elderly Couple's Murders; Do You Know This Person?:

Those pictures are far to small to be able to be used to identify someone. The person does look somewhat familiar but there's no way i can tell with that tiny picture. is there access to any larger versions? if that is in fact who i think it is, i think they are very capable of committing the crime and should face what they deserve

Stephanie Collison said...

Steph here. Any updates on this story? I am not finding any via Google. I know the Willingham family, and I am appalled. I also think the perp looks familiar, but alas, I cannot be sure without better images.