Unsolved Double Homicide: One Year Later

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

July 3rd, 2006, Viola and Thomas Hefton-- an elderly couple on vacation in Michigan--were gunned down in their daughter's home in Ovid Township. One year later, the family is speaking out with hopes a new year breathes new life into the case.

"We've thought of so many things, maybe this, maybe that, so many scenarios," Sandee Spitler, daughter of Viola and Thomas Hefton, says.

That game of detective is part of a regular routine for Sandee and her husband Larry Spitler nowadays. He talks with detectives often.

The Spitlers returned home from a vacation up north last year to find the Heftons shot in their home.

"Somebody, somewhere knows something," Larry Spitler says.

One year later, detectives have binders full of information, but still few clues. The Heftons had no enemies. They were robbed of only the cash in their wallets.

"This is still active," Undersheriff Jack Phillips says, though the task force once on the case has stopped meeting regularly. The theory--an intruder did it--remains the same, but so does the question--who?

A description of two vehicles that were seen in the area and a person seen in the area created a flurry of leads last year, but to date, the sheriff's office hasn't identified any of the three.

Today, they are hoping a new avenue--America's Most Wanted--might produce a new batch of tips.

"I think we're gonna begin on the website and see where it goes from there," Undersheriff Phillips says. He's hopeful national exposure will be helpful if their suspect has left the state.

There is a $5,000 reward for information on the murder.


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