Police: Home invasion case a 'humdinger'

July 12, 2009 at 8:17 PM
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BEULAH, Fla., July 12 (UPI) -- One man was under arrest in the killing of a Beulah, Fla., couple in a case one top investigator said is "going to be a humdinger."

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez has been charged with tampering with evidence, Escambia County States Attorney Bill Eddins told reporters at a news conference Sunday.

"There is a possibility that other charges will be forthcoming," he said. "We anticipate additional arrests will be made."

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the key to the investigation so far was the discovery of a van caught on video by a surveillance camera during the home invasion in which Byrd Billings, 66, and his wife Melanie, 43, were shot multiple times.

"He was covering damage and painting the van in an attempt to disguise the van from the video that was released to the press so that it would not be readily recognizable," Morgan said.

The Billingses were found shot to death Thursday night in their home, where eight of their 12 adopted children were found unharmed, the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal reported.

Morgan said Sunday police were "looking for multiple persons of interest."

"We are very anxious to share this story with the citizens of Escambia County and with the nation if you will. It's going to be a humdinger," he said. "This investigation will expand much larger than anyone had anticipated."

Morgan had said Saturday the manner in which the home invasion was carried out -- which was caught on surveillance cameras -- suggests the perpetrators have experience.

"It was a very short time span -- in and out," he said.

The eight children found in the Billingses' home were being cared for by relatives, the News Journal said. The Billingses had four other children in addition to their 12 adopted children, some of whom had special needs.

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