Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Mansion Murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings

A Connection to the Family

Weeks later, police were still trying to complete their understanding of the genesis of the scheme and connection of the suspects to the Billings family. The elder Gonzalez may have been on the Billings property for his business. He owned a pressure-cleaning business, and police believed he and Coldiron had done work at the home.

Byrd Billings
Byrd Billings
As police began looking at the Billings family history, they began to wonder if they were looking at a contract killing. It turned out that there was more to the Billings family than the all-American history that their prior media image implied.

Though he and Melanie had been married 18 years, Byrd "Bud" Billings had been married two times before. He had participated and been sentenced to probation for an adoption scam with one of his wives: He and Cindy Reeve had pleaded nolo contendre, accepting punishment without admitting guilt. Before running a used-car dealership in a run-down part of town, Byrd had been a strip club owner. He'd incorporated a boat company and a different car company in the 1980s. The Associated Press cited divorce records from his second wife in 1993 that revealed Billings had not been rich at that time: his total net worth at that time was just $1400.

And yet, in 2009, the Billings lived like the wealthywith an elaborately equipped nine-bedroom house worth $700,000but no one could figure out how a modest car dealership would generate enough income to cover all their expenses, which included so much help for the children. Some speculated that the Billings adopted children so that they could receive money from the government.

Were there shadier financial transactions happening in the shadows? And why did the name Cab Tice keep coming up in the interviews police conducted to understand the connections between the suspects and the Billings family?

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