WEST POINT, Ga. (AP) — A woman faces multiple charges in two states after surrendering to authorities following a standoff at a Georgia motel that ended with another suspect in the deaths of four women fatally shooting himself.
A tip called in about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday led law enforcement to a motel in West Point, Georgia, where Mary Rice, 37, and William “Billy” Boyette, 44, were holed up in a room. Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff told reporters that deputies had set up a perimeter and the SWAT team was preparing to enter the room when Rice stepped outside and surrendered. Moments later, a gunshot was heard and deputies found Boyette dead inside the room.
The pair had been on the run since Jan. 31, when the bodies of two women — Alicia Greer, 30, and Jacqueline Jeanette Moore, 39, were found at the Emerald Sands Inn in the Florida Panhandle. They also were suspected in the Feb. 3 death of Peggy Broz, 52, across the state line in Lillian, Alabama. They took her car, which was later found in Pensacola.
A citizen on Tuesday afternoon spotted the stolen vehicle the two were seen driving and alerted authorities who surrounded the west Georgia motel, Woodruff told reporters, according to video posted online by WTVM-TV.
Boyette allowed Rice to leave the motel room Tuesday evening and she was seen crying as she was taken into custody, Woodruff said. Authorities then heard a single gunshot from inside the motel room and subsequently found Boyette dead inside, Woodruff said.
Rice is being held at the Troup County Jail.
Authorities in Alabama had issued capital murder warrants in the case earlier Tuesday as the search for the pair entered its second week.
Agencies across the Panhandle and southern Alabama earlier had been told to consider Rice a person of interest in the attacks. On Monday she was upgraded to an official suspect. Authorities said she had had multiple chances to flee or ask for help.
Authorities have given no motive for the four killings or said how the suspects may have chosen their victims.
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A Florida Panhandle sheriff’s office has doubled the number of deputies on patrol as a multi-state search enters its second week for a man suspected in the deaths of three women and the attempted death of a fourth.
On Monday afternoon, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chip Simmons warned the public to be on the lookout for William “Billy” Boyette, 44, and Mary Rice, 37, who are suspected of shooting a young mother during a home invasion near Pensacola on Monday, and taking her car.
“In short we have a killer, he is in our midst. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be aware of this, should be aware of what they look like,” Simmons said.
Boyette and Rice are also suspected in the deaths of Alicia Greer, 30, and Jacqueline Jeanette Moore, 39, whose bodies were found at the Emerald Sands Inn in nearby Milton on Jan. 31, and the death of Peggy Broz in Lillian, Alabama, on Friday. Investigators said the two also stole Broz’ car.
gencies across the Panhandle and southern Alabama are searching for Boyette and Rice, who had previously been considered a person of interest in the attacks. On Monday she was upgraded to an official suspect. Authorities said she had multiple chances to flee or ask for help. She has been spotted on surveillance video entering stores on her own.
On Monday morning, the mother of Kayla Crocker went to check on her after the 28-year-old woman didn’t show up for work. She found Crocker with a gunshot wound. Her 2-year-old son was not injured, sheriff’s officials said.
Crocker’s white Chevrolet Cobalt was stolen and Sheriff David Morgan told local news outlets that video surveillance confirmed Boyette and Rice took the car to a nearby Shell station and ate at a Hardee’s restaurant a short time after the attack.
Morgan said Boyette has a history of drug trafficking and is known to be a heavy user of the drug Spice.
He said his agency has been “chasing a lot of shadows and a lot of rumors” in the search for the pair. He warned residents to stay alert.
“When you go to work, when you come home, make sure a friend or family member knows where you are …, ” Morgan said. He added that while the measures may seem extreme, “we’re dealing with an extreme situation here.”
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