Authorities have made an arrest in the killings of a Gulf Coast couple known for adopting special-needs children, a sheriff’s spokesman said Sunday.
Investigators announced Saturday night that two people were being questioned in the killings of Byrd and Melanie Billings, who were found dead in their Beulah, Florida, home Thursday night. Sgt. Ted Roy, a spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN that one person had been arrested Sunday afternoon. Eight children found in the Billings home were unharmed and were being cared for by relatives at “an undisclosed location,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Saturday night. They range in age from infancy to 11 years, police said. Emergency personnel and police went to the home after receiving a call just before 8 p.m. Thursday about shots being fired, Roy said. An employee of the couple found their bodies, Roy said. Investigators found a red Dodge van recorded on surveillance cameras leaving the Billings’ home, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Saturday. “Interviews with associated neighbors, friends and family” prompted police to question a relative of the van’s owner and another person on Saturday, authorities said. Details on who was arrested Sunday weren’t immediately available.
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The Billings have 16 children; 12 of them were adopted, some of whom have special needs, the Pensacola News Journal reported. Beulah is west of Pensacola, near the Alabama state line.