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3 arrested in slaying of Florida couple; 2 charged with murder

  • Story Highlights
  • Wayne Coldiron and Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. face murder charges
  • Gonzalez's father arrested earlier Sunday, charged with evidence-tampering
  • Byrd and Melanie Billings, who adopted special-needs kids, found dead Thursday
  • Escambia County Sheriff calls case a "humdinger," expects more arrests to come
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PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) -- Three suspects are in custody, including two who face murder charges, in what the local sheriff called a "multifaceted" investigation into the killings of a Gulf Coast couple known for adopting special-needs children.

Byrd and Melanie Billings were found shot to death Thursday night in their home near Pensacola, Florida.

Wayne Coldiron and Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. are facing murder charges in the Thursday night shooting deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings, said Sheriff David Morgan of Escambia County.

Coldiron, 41, surrendered to investigators Sunday and Gonzalez was arrested in neighboring Santa Rosa County on Sunday evening, Morgan said.

Gonzalez's age was not immediately released.

The sheriff was in the middle of announcing Coldiron's arrest to reporters when detectives informed him that Gonzalez was in custody. Video Watch sheriff learn of second arrest »

Morgan said the investigation has become "a window into something bigger," with multiple motives and multiple suspects. But he released few details.

"I know this sounds like we're talking in circles," he told reporters earlier Sunday. "But at this point, we cannot release that information, because those circles have not been completed."

In addition, Gonzalez's father, Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Sr., 56, has been arrested on evidence-tampering charges.

The elder Gonzalez is accused of trying to disguise a red Dodge van that surveillance cameras captured leaving the slain couple's home.

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Investigators had distributed images of the van, and its discovery Saturday was "the linchpin in this case," Morgan said. Gonzalez "was covering damage and painting the van ... so that it would not be readily recognizable."

The Billingses lived in Beulah, west of Pensacola, near the Alabama state line.


There were eight children, ranging in age from infancy to 11 years, in the home with them when they were killed.

The children were unharmed and were being cared for by relatives, authorities said.

CNN's David Mattingly contributed to this report.

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