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.

Danny Williams with a mustach and glasses

Danny Williams

Danny sitting on the end of couch in a living room

Investigators claimed death was a suicide


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:

“I kept calling Danny’s name, saying, ‘Danny! This is your dad, this is me coming in!’ Because he did have a gun in the house for protection, and I didn’t want to be in a situation where he was asleep and shot his own dad.”

Danny holding a pitstol on his lap

A gun was found in Danny’s lap

As he entered the den, it was clear to Larry that Danny was dead:

“He was sitting on the couch in an upright position with a bullet in his head and a gun in his lap. So the comment that I made as I went through the door was, ‘Oooh, Dan, don’t let this be what it looks like.”

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:

“The position of the body, the type of wound, the absence of any specific evidence of foul play indicated to us that the gunshot wound could have been self-inflicted and caused us to classify the case as a suicide.”

A bullet hole in the wall behind Danny

Blood should have been on wall

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:

“I shouldn’t admit it, but I watch everybody’s business. It was Saturday morning that I saw Danny get in the car with this woman. So naturally, being nosy as I am, I looked her over real good. She had dark hair; she would’ve been between 25 and 30.”

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:

“No. It was not Friday, it was Saturday. And the lady in the blue car was too young to have been his mother.”

Police investigators lifting up the couch Danny was found on

A second gun shell was found under the couch

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:

“Eyewitness testimony can easily be mistaken, it’s as simple as that. They may have seen some activity there, but it’s a distinct possibility that the days may have been confused as to when they had seen that movement.”

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:

“With the head being that close to the wall, you most certainly would expect to find larger, massive amounts of blood splatter, either at or near the back of the couch, and most certainly on the back wall.”

By now, Larry Williams was convinced his son had been murdered. He brought in independent forensic scientist, Mark Boese:

“I had this feeling that I was gonna go out, see the house, see a typical messy scene, and tell Larry that, ‘I think your son committed suicide.’ But we get to the house, and there’s a lack of evidence to support the suicide.”

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:

“If Danny had just shot himself sitting there, you definitely would not have a pattern at all behind the TV set, and there’s nothing to indicate Danny got up after shooting himself and walked around. So someone else obviously dropped the blood droplets everywhere else that we found.”

Crime scene analyst measuring the trajectory of bullet to rule out suicide

Trajectory of bullet proves suicide was impossible

Blood analysis later revealed the presence of two different bloods types in the house.
Danny’s blood was type B. Mark Boese found type B and type O blood in the den, where Danny’s body was. Boese also found type O in the bathroom, as well as inside the pocket of Danny’s jeans. Forensic serologist Cecilia Guzman says it’s not physically possible for both blood types to be Danny’s:

“It’s an impossibility. This evidence suggests to me that two people in the room were bleeding. Two separate individuals.”

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:

“I could guarantee you; send that evidence to five different independent laboratories that have no idea what this case is about, that this was a murder or a suicide or anything, and they will come back with type B blood and type O blood.”

Chief John Schlaf was confident in his lab’s results:

“We feel just strongly about the results of the Illinois State Crime Lab, that there was no evidence of a type O blood in that home.”

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:

“Mark was processing the room. He opened the couch up and a shell casing fell out. Later tests showed that this shell did come from Danny’s gun, and it had been recently fired, so there were two shells found on the couch that came from Danny’s gun.”

Private Investigator Mark Boese:

“Danny’s gun was laying on his lap, his hand was laying on top of the gun, just as if he shot it and then set it back down. It’s a little inconsistent with a suicide.”

Next, Boese tried to match the bullet path to Danny’s position on the couch. According to Boese:

“The body would have gone forward. The body wouldn’t have moved back into the position it was in, and the gun probably would not have been in his lap. It probably would be on the floor or the coffee table.”

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:

“We can advance theories all day long, everyone can. But the factual data that we’ve gathered, we feel comfortable with.”

Larry Williams was certain that the evidence points to foul play:

“The investigators, crime labs, and what have you, that I’ve had working on this from the beginning, as soon as they went into the house and saw the evidence that was in there then, and is still in there now, were convinced, as I was, that it was cold-blooded murder.”

Was Danny Williams murdered or did he kill himself? The official coroner’s report lists Williams’ cause of death as “Uncertain.”

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Brian

    There is no way the police can be so incompetent in there investigation the only reason for this is the police were involved in the murder


  2. Anonymous

    Police officers only work homicide for a few years. The evidence collecting in this case was not done without faults. There should have been more blood found. There were arguments about the labs and cleaning crew. But you shouldn’t need a microscope to see the crime scene. The experts on the other side where also not without faults. We don’t know where point A of the trajectory was. I don’t know if the bullet hole described by the girlfriend was a different bullet hole. But even point B is uncertain. So overall the cleaning crew and evidence collecting really makes any determination inconclusive.


  3. Remz

    1. Gum shot into wall 6 months prior
    2. Cops ruled suicide, got it wrong and won’t admit it.
    3. Girlfriend definitely knows who it was who murdered Danny.
    4. Anything can tie into him working for his family’s million dollar company.
    Lazy cops, more like incompetent and inconsiderate… they know there is more but won’t admit it.
    There is and isn’t blood evidence.
    There is witnesses. Why multiple! witnesses have been dismissed is beyond me.
    His friends or who ever he’s been in contact with, including work, have never been questioned?
    I don’t think this city has a very good police force.. a lot of “undetermined” deaths.


  4. Galesburg natuve

    No the case has never been solved. It was never opened back up. Mr. Williams went to his grave never knowing who murdered his son. This town has a history of fudging investigations. Sorry but EVERY witness isn’t going to have it wrong. And since his neighbor knew everything about her neighbors I’m sure she would have heard a gunshot. It’s funny how only the O blood type samples were compromised but the type B weren’t. Umm ok


    • Bob

      Think FBI needs to get involved looks like a dirty police station no time limit to murder and dirty cops. DIRTY COPS!!!


    • Anonymous

      It is very unfortunate that Larry passed away. He was a good person. His interview to Unsolved Mysteries really had me thinking. He said that he always called Danny when entering his house. That made me wonder if Danny accidentally shot someone. In Illinois that is legal for a gun owner to do that in their house. But the person shot would of had to fight for his life.


  5. Charlie Lane

    I believe that the girlfriend knows who did it that the police know who did it and that either he’s connected to them or he is highly influential and the town because the girlfriend said clearly 6 months earlier he shot a hole in the wall okay oh we found a hole in the wall where there’s no blood well guess what did he might think that that could be the balloon shot six months earlier no so if anybody else thinks that’s funny that they found a helpful in a wall and we’re told that he shot the bullet the gun 6 months earlier into the wall you know


  6. Jay

    Definitely foul play.


  7. Maqqabee

    The sluggish police chief’s surname literally translates to “sleep.”

    Seems about right.


  8. UM fan

    The police officer seemed so heartless and showed zero compassion whatsoever. I feel like we should be able to rely on the law enforcement to do their job and investigate thoroughly to get answers but man, i felt so bad for the family. I think it was murder.


  9. thinkingoutloud

    obviously he was murdered, but the cops were lazy and dismissed it as a suicide solely based on the fact of how the gun was positioned.
    multiple witnesses claimed to have seen danny and then the police rule them out claiming they got it wrong….how useless and lazy of them.

    maybe the police are involved. i wonder if they ever questioned any of dannys friends and what they had to say. apparently there’s no other bruising or cuts or scratches, so the shot was one and done. there’s got to be something else for them to work with, more questions need to be asked but the cops were so quick to rule everything else out.

    and danny worked for the family’s’ multi-million family company…wonder if that has anything to do with his murder.


  10. NiK

    It seems as though the police officers are too arrogant and firm in their ruling it should be reopened now with new technologies with the collected data. I believe it was murder simply by the wound and position of gun. We don’t get enough info. I think Danny befriended people and they messed up. Robbery or something else hmmm..


    • Anonymous

      We can’t assume murder. It could have been self defense if someone else was shot first. But the crime scene looks tampered with.


    • Anonymous

      By law if a scene is covered up, it has to be charged as premeditated murder. (Because planning goes into a cover up.)


  11. John Brown

    Suicide would have left a large mess.
    Suicide would not have held on to the gun after the shot. Blood found in other rooms of the house. According to details of the case, almost no blood mess.


  12. House of Cards

    this really looks like the situation in house of cards… does anyone know if there’s any connection to it? im very curious


  13. Anonymous

    I have a relative that worked at Bri-Mar labs (Brain and Mark Boese) in the Chicago suburbs. She said the evidence points directly at a murder with a staged suicide. Cops are involved in the cover up. Danny was meeting someone for a drug deal.


  14. joey

    Have this solved yet


  15. alfa0706

    1. no witness from the gun sound
    2. no messy blood
    3. strange position of hand
    4. two types blood with different spot

    the fact is more likely to murdering than suicide. if it suicide I agree there would be messy blood and the strange is it doesn’t. and then the hand position with a gun in his lap it is obviously a setting, at suicide case when gun shot get to vital the hand will fall along with the gravity. any updates for this case?


  16. Dkk

    A lot of these case files are so frustrasting. There is never enough factual detail. Nothing to go on, just opinions. Opinions blur the lines between fact and fiction.


  17. Anonymous

    foul play


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