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Cops: Fla. Slay Plot "Basically Flawless"

The accomplice assigned to turn off surveillance cameras before an elaborate, deadly break-in at a sprawling Florida Panhandle home never did, but the seven people accused in the crime apparently did not know that, authorities said Wednesday.

Melanie and Byrd Billings, known for adopting a large brood of children with special needs, were shot to death about a week ago. An extensive surveillance system captured footage of masked men - some dressed as ninjas - slipping into front and back doors at the home and stealing a safe, among other items.

The men were in the nine-bedroom house for just four minutes and on the property for 10, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. Video captured during that time led investigators to a red van used as a getaway car and eventually to the suspects.

Morgan said investigators have been pondering "the huge gap" in what was otherwise a precise, methodical crime for which the suspects had trained 30 days. They were a loosely connected group of mostly day laborers who knew each other through a power washing business and an auto detailing operation.

"The execution was basically flawless," Morgan said. "The one gaping hole that would not have made this a perfect operation, if you will, was the fact that the surveillance system was not disabled. I guess the question was why was it not?"

Investigators have not said what was in the safe or what else was taken from the house. Morgan said they also do not know why the camera system remained on. He speculated that maybe the person who was supposed to turn it off had an attack of conscience. "Who knows?" he said.

Also Wednesday, Morgan said police in Orange Beach, Ala., had found a real estate agent named Pamela Laverne Long. Authorities had earlier sought public help finding her, saying they were concerned about her safety because she hadn't been heard from in about two days.

Police in Orange Beach, about 30 miles from Pensacola, found her at or near a marina on Wednesday afternoon, Morgan said. He said she was not in custody and was returning to Florida voluntarily. He said investigators believe she has "significant and substantial information" needed to conclude the case.

Morgan said Long is friends with and rents property to 35-year-old Leonard Gonzalez Jr., whom Morgan described as a "pivotal person" in organizing the crime.

Morgan also said authorities are looking for another person of interest who may have been assigned to turn off the surveillance system, possibly remotely, though he did not identify that person.

Morgan told CBS' "The Early Show" earlier Wednesday that investigators had "verified yesterday that this team, this group of people, had been in training at least 30 days, a month, prior to the execution of it at the Billings' compound."

Morgan also said investigators believe they know who shot the couple.

"We have identified, in fact, who participated or I should say was the active shooter in this case. We've been asked not to release that at this time," he told "The Early Show."

The sheriff has become the public face of the high-profile case by peppering his updates with ready-to-publish sound bites.

Nine of the couple's 13 adopted children were home during the break-in. Three saw the intruders but were not hurt. The couple also had four children from previous marriages.

State Attorney Bill Eddins has said he will ask a grand jury to indict all those arrested on first-degree murder charges in the Billings' shooting deaths. He said robbery was the main motive.

The suspects range in age from 16 to 56. One, Donnie Ray Stallworth, was with the Air Force Special Operations Command with an aircraft maintenance squadron at Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach. It wasn't clear how he knew the others. Stallworth had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan five times since 2002, an Air Force spokesman said.

Gonzalez was charged with murder and read a statement in court Tuesday proclaiming his innocence.

His father, Leonard Gonzalez Sr., 56, was charged with evidence tampering after authorities said he tried to cover up some damage on a red van seen on surveillance video pulling away from the house. Officials said the damage was unrelated to the crime.

Day laborer Wayne Coldiron, 41, was also charged with murder. He sometimes worked for a pressure washing business owned by the elder Gonzalez.

The other suspects arrested were Gary Sumner, 31, a day laborer, 19-year-old Frederick Lee Thornton, and a 16-year-old whom officials are not naming because he is a minor.