Police rule suicide when a man is found with a gun on his lap and a bullet in his head, but some experts conclude it’s murder.
It’s a situation every parent dreads. Larry and Lois Williams hadn’t heard from their son, Danny, in nearly two days. So Larry decided to drive over to Danny’s house to see what he could find. After he let himself in with his own key:
As he entered the den, it was clear to Larry that Danny was dead:
Twenty-three year-old Danny Williams was Larry and Lois’s youngest son. He managed distribution for the family’s multi-million-dollar apparel manufacturing company.
Larry Williams called the Galesburg Police. Chief John Schlaf described the police’s appraisal of the scene:
Larry Williams hired private detective, Mike Turnquist, to investigate. Soon, he had something to report; the police said Danny died very early Saturday morning. But a neighbor named Darlene Sayrs told Turnquist that she had seen Danny alive a full eight hours after the time of death:
The police dismissed the account, saying Mrs. Sayrs had her days mixed up. It was already established that Danny had been picked up by his mother on Friday, the day before he died. But Darlene did not change her account:
Other witnesses noticed activity at Danny’s house on Sunday, 24 hours after he died. According to Chief Schlaf, at least one person reported seeing a young man with curly brown hair, approximately five feet, four inches tall. But Schlaf thinks the witness got something wrong:
Danny’s father claims that some of the physical evidence turned up by police argued against suicide. The bullet that supposedly killed Danny exited through his head and lodged in the wall. When the police removed the bullet, there was only one small spot, which appeared to be blood, on the paneling. Private investigator Michael Turnquist finds this suspicious:
By now, Larry Williams was convinced his son had been murdered. He brought in independent forensic scientist, Mark Boese:
Mark Boese used a laser luminescence scanner to look for blood evidence invisible to the naked eye. He found significant samples in several places, even on the television set:
Blood analysis later revealed the presence of two different bloods types in the house.
The official police position was that the alleged type O blood samples were compromised by the crime scene clean-up crew. Samples of the blood were submitted to the Illinois State Crime Lab for testing. However, according to Cecilia Guzman, the lab claimed that the samples could not be definitively typed:
Chief John Schlaf was confident in his lab’s results:
According to Larry Williams, Mark Boese’s investigation appeared to turn up one new piece of evidence that undercut the police theory and supported his theory that the blood of two different people was in Danny’s house:
Private Investigator Mark Boese:
Next, Boese tried to match the bullet path to Danny’s position on the couch. According to Boese:
Mark Boese now believes that Danny was probably not shot in his house. Here’s how it might have happened: there was a fight somewhere else that left Danny and another person bleeding. That person took Danny’s keys out of his pocket, leaving behind a trace of type O blood, and drove Danny’s body back to his house. There, the crime scene was arranged to make Danny’s death look like suicide. But Chief Schlaf is not convinced:
Larry Williams was certain that the evidence points to foul play:
Was Danny Williams murdered or did he kill himself? The official coroner’s report lists Williams’ cause of death as “Uncertain.”