Seven months after Warren County officials were first called to the burning home of Bill and Kay Wood, investigators say they now have more questions than answers. Kay is still missing.
Electronic billboards in the metro flash pictures of the couple and a person of interest in the case. The Wood’s children and investigators are holding out hope someone will come forward to move the investigation ahead.
The nightmare started for the family on July 30th, 2011.
“The night of the fire,” Michael Harris said, “That 24 hour period felt like 10 minutes to me.”
Only one body was found in the burned down home that belonged to 80 year old William and 72 year old Kay Wood.
The two had known each other for years, Kay and William’s sister were best friends, but the couple’s life together began just three years ago, when they were married.
“I know since they were married that William has went on more trips and stuff with Kay than he`s done his whole life. They were very happy together,” said Georgia Dyer. William and Kay were her aunt and uncle.
“I think for me it was going over on Friday nights, and sitting on the deck and listening with William and mom, his old country music. Just sitting there and listening,” said Patty Shaw, Kay’s daughter.
“I have a lot of memories. The best and the last was William bought a windmill out of Pella. The two of them put it together and I got to hear about it. That was a marriage, doing something together,” said Michael Harris, Kay Wood’s son.
Their children said Bill and Kay were inseparable. When they weren’t chasing around their great grandchildren, the two were traveling, listening to country music, and antiquing. That’s how they spent their final day together, looking for treasures at a local auction.
“They were really caring people; very old school. So it was absolutely unthinkable that this could happen,” said Lisa Harris.
The fire destroyed the Wood`s home, and with it, much of the evidence.
“It might help if we knew they were in there robbing them, if they took something. With the house being burnt down we don`t know if that was their motive. We don`t know if there was a motive,” said Zelda Dyer, William’s sister and Kay’s best friend.
The first major break in the case didn’t bring the family any answers: Authorities found the couples truck at an apartment complex in Kansas City, and were able to sketch a picture of a man witnesses said was spotted nearby.
“We looked and looked, trying to hopefully recognize something about them and we all had difficulty doing that,” said Lisa Harris, just days after the announcement of a person of interest was made.
While the family couldn’t identify the man, they hoped the public could. Fliers were plastered across Iowa and Missouri, and massive search parties focused on the areas in between.
But all the support of friends and strangers couldn’t prepare the family for what came next.
“I think what changed most was that we were all devastated. First off we have been looking for Kay and William, now we have William, however, he`s dead and he`s been murdered,” said Lisa during an interview in August 2011.
The body found in the burned home proved to be Bill Woods, and it wasn’t the fire that killed him- police say Bill died of multiple gunshot wounds.
“These were loving people. Who didn`t deserve this. And from one family to another we would like someone to have a little compassion that has some information to just call it in. and give us some peace. As much peace as we can possible get from this,” said Lisa.
7 months later that peace remains elusive. The dwindling calls to police are yet to turn up any new leads or new suspects, and police still don’t have a name to go with the sketch.
“It`s heartbreaking when the family calls you because I`d love to be able to tell them hey we got this person in custody and we`re looking for this person,” said Special Agent Mike Motsinger with the Iowa DCI, who has been with the case since its start.
Though tip calls are now down to just 3 a week, he is not ready to call it a “Cold Case.”
“If it comes to a point where we`ve run all the leads out and we don`t have any suspects and the general public or even us working the case generating more leads our self, when that becomes cold and there`s no more things to follow up that`s where we would probably consider it a cold case,” said Motsinger.
The Woods’ family hopes it never comes to that; not only for them, but to prevent others from enduring what they’re going through.
“We need to find them, before they do it to someone else. This time it was our family. Next time it could be theirs,” said Patty Shaw.
That means the searching never stops. No matter how few tips come in, or how much time goes by.
“You don`t go anywhere you`re not looking, you`re riding in the car, if I`m a passenger, my eyes are in the ditch, or they`re out in the fields,” Michael explained, “That`s going to be our lives. I mean it is. We are going to be looking for our mother until we find her. That will be our lives, there`s nothing in between.”
The dci says they have one specific agent assigned to the case at all times. They bring in more people off other cases, depending on the number and potential of tips received. If you have any information on the case please call Crime Stoppers at 223-1400.the award for information is now up to $8,000.