Monday, May 23, 2011
Out for Justice: Willie Latimore
Holidays are a time to enjoy friends and family, but for one Miami family, it was the beginning of a nightmare. In tonight's "Out for Justice," Channel 7's Patrick Fraser tells us that the Broward Sheriff's Office is asking for help in solving a brutal crime.
WSVN -- Willie Latimore was a big man, over 230 pounds, but he was still his mama's boy.
Rolande Latimore, Willie's Mom: "He always said, 'Mommy, I'm not going to marry nobody. You be my wife. You be my wife.'"
Willie grew up, met a young lady, had kids and moved to Georgia, but he always made it home for the holidays to be with his mother.
Rolande Latimore: "They had dinner, Thanksgiving dinner."
That Thanksgiving dinner in 2007 would be the last time Rolande saw her son alive. He had promised to come see her the next day and didn't.
Rolande Latimore: "I called his phone, his cell phone, and the call went straight to the answering machine."
Willie would never answer his phone again. He was dead.
Rolande Latimore: "It was a horrible scene."
Willie's body was found by some kids who saw a dumpster on fire.
Detective Joseph Ventura, Broward Sheriff's Office: "He was actually laying on a mattress. Looks like he was placed there and accelerant was thrown on top of him, and he was set on fire."
The Latimores searched and searched for Willie. Then, the Broward Medical Examiner asked for a copy of Willie's dental records, and the Latimores were asked to come in.
Rolande Latimore: "We find out that he was shot in the head. A close, close shot."
Shot, and then the killers tried to destroy his body.
Detective Joseph Ventura: "Through the doctor's examination of him, there was no soot inside his lungs, which means he wasn't breathing at the time he was set on fire."
It wasn't one killer.
Willie was a big man. It took two or three people to lift him into the dumpster. Two or three horrible people.
Detective Joseph Ventura: "So it was definitely a brutal, premeditated homicide. Some planning went into it."
Patrick Fraser: "Why kill Willie? Broward detectives don't have a motive, but they were told that Willie might have tried to buy some marijuana while he was in South Florida. But they don't have any proof of that. And whether it's true or not, no one deserves to die like Willie did."
Rolande Latimore: "If they had just shot him and you know he's already dead, why burn him?"
Rolande says she is convinced those killers were not strangers, that Willie probably knew them, even trusted them.
Rolande Latimore: "It's not an enemy. It has to be a friend, because Junior only be around his friends."
Obviously, police don't know who killed Willie, but they do know several people do know.
Detective Joseph Ventura: "It just takes that person to reach into his heart and do the right thing for the family, for his friends, to solve this brutal homicide."
Today, the family is just left with Willie's ashes. They still hold a memorial service for him where his body was discovered. Willie's children are there, trying to understand why some people would do this to their father.
Rolande Latimore: "I love him so much. He was my only son. My only son."
Patrick Fraser: "The only way a killer can keep a secret is to act alone and never talk. Two or three people shot, killed, dumped and burned Willie Latimore's body. Odds are a lot of people know who did it, so call Broward Crime Stoppers. No one will ever know who gave the anonymous tip."
And if you lost a family member, if you are afraid people have forgotten, give us a call. You care, we care. We are all Out for Justice.
Broward Crime Stoppers: 954-493-TIPS
Out For Justice: 305-598-HELP (4357)
Miami-Dade or 954-796-HELP (4357) in Broward