Skip to comments.Fla. couple who adopted 12 children found slain
Posted on 07/10/2009 6:58:40 PM PDT by Gordon Greene
PENSACOLA, Fla. Investigators asked the public to be on the lookout Friday for a red van they believe carried three men involved in the deaths of a Florida Panhandle couple who were shot in their rural home while eight of their children slept.
Surveillance cameras showed the van at the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings in Beulah, a rural area west of Pensacola near the Alabama border, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. The children were unharmed.
The sheriff's office released an enhanced but still grainy photograph of a red, 15-passenger van dating to the late 70s or early 80s.
Morgan said investigators did not know who killed the wealthy couple known for adopting children with developmental disabilities, many born to drug-addicted mothers.
Morgan said eight of the children, ages 8 to 14, were in the home when the couple was killed Thursday evening. A woman who lives in an outlying building and helps care for the children called emergency dispatchers from the home.
Deputies had to wake some of the children after they arrived, authorities said.
Investigators interviewed the children, who are now staying with other family members, Morgan said.
The Billings had 16 children, 12 of them adopted. They married 18 years ago and each had two children from previous marriages. The couple then began adopting children with developmental disabilities and other problems.
The couple owned several local businesses, including a finance company and a used car dealership.
In a 2005 story in the Pensacola News Journal, the couple said they wanted to share their wealth with children in need, but didn't imagine their family would grow so large.
"It just happened," Melanie Byrd told the newspaper. "I just wanted to give them a better life."
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
God has a plan and this I know for sure, but the folks responsible for this were doing the Devil’s work, not God’s.
Strange story... 3 folks in a van coming to kill them? Sounds like a murder for hire to me. Business related? Maybe some mom and dad who lost their kid to this couple because of neglect wanted to punish them? 8 kids that age in the house at the time?
All too strange.
How tragic. Wow. The first thing that crossed my mind was that one or more of those disabled/retarded kids grew up to become resentful of their lives....
Thats my first thought, especially after reading this..
...couple known for adopting children with developmental disabilities, many born to drug-addicted mothers
These 'mothers' use their kids to claim govt assistance that they use to acquire drugs. No kids, no drugs.
Good grief those poor kids!! To be adopted and then orphans again?? Wow.
If the children inherit, one or more of the birth parents might have a motive.
I feel terrible for those children who lost these great parents,
I believe in God, but I don’t think He would slay the parents of twelve sleeping children because He wanted the parents with Him. Because man has free will, bad things happen in the world.
If he wanted them bad enough he could have had them die in their sleep for chrissakes . Didn’t need to send 3 thugs in a red van to knock them off !
May God have mercy on those twice orphaned children. Disabled, too. Good grief. Those poor kids.
My instincts are leaning towards one of the older children hiring someone - for the inheritance.
I wonder if the perps even knew who they were attacking. They probably saw big house = lots of money there and decided to invade, not even knowing there were 12 children there. I’m sure the family has some kind of trust set up for the care of the children, should something have happened to them both. I doubt kids will inherit per se, but a couple like that is money-savvy, care and trusts were probably set up long ago and killing them wouldn’t change that.
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