PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Authorities in Alabama issued capital murder warrants Tuesday as the search continued across two states for a man and woman wanted in the deaths of three women and the attempted killing of another.
In Pensacola, Florida, Sheriff David Morgan doubled the number of deputies on patrol as the hunt for William “Billy” Boyette, 44, and Mary Rice, 37, entered its second week.
Boyette and Rice are 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, Florida, on Jan. 31. Investigators say the two suspects then drove across the state line and fatally shot Peggy Broz, 52, in Lillian, Alabama, on Friday, also taking Broz’s car.
Florida state prosecutors told CBS affiliate WKRG the pair purchased ammunition during a trip to a Crestview, Florida, Walmart store Thursday, after the slayings in Milton but before Broz’s fatal shooting in Alabama. Investigators released a surveillance image of Rice inside the Walmart.
The two also are accused of shooting and critically wounding Kayla Crocker, 28, on Monday, said Escambia County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Chip Simmons. He warned residents in the Florida Panhandle county to be on the lookout for Boyette and Rice.
“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 Monday afternoon.
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 multiple chances to flee or ask for help. She also has been spotted on surveillance video entering stores on her own.
In Alabama, sheriff’s investigators named the two in the capital murder warrants and said in a news release that Rice was with Boyette when Broz was shot and killed during the early morning hours of Feb. 3. They also warned that the two should be considered dangerous and advised anyone who might see them to call 911.
In Florida, Crocker’s mother went to check on her after she didn’t show up for work Monday morning. 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 the sheriff told 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 and 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.”