Billings case: Wednesday, July 15

January 1, 2010

Search for Pamela Long Wiggins
Wednesday, July 15

The Sarasota Herald Tribune opens the day with an article on Patrick Gonzalez cyberstalking in his ex-wife and in-laws, “Suspect in slaying of Pensacola couple haunted Sarasota family.”

Gonzalez had met Katie Herkel when she was a student at the University of West Florida. Patrick Richmond Poff married Katie, age 18, on Feb. 19, 1999. In July 2000, the couple changed their names to Gonzalez. Two years later they divorced. The couple had a daughter Bella. When Patrick failed to pay child support, Katie won sole custody and moved home to Sarasota.

Gonzalez harassed the wife and her parents, calling them every few months, according to the article. He set up in April 2009 a MySpace page dedicated to getting his daughter back and further harassing the Herkels. He wrote threatening messages seeking help in regaining visitation rights to Bella.

ATTENTION: ANYONE THAT KNOWS JENNIFER HERKEL, WILLIAM OR REBECCA HERKEL, KATIE HERKEL GONZALEZ, OR HAS HEARD OF BILL’S MOBILE HOME REPAIR IN SARASOTA FLORIDA….My name is (Leonard)Patrick Gonzalez. I have opened this account in an attempt to communicate with my daughter, Mary Isabella Gonzalez (Bella). Today (04/19/2009) she turned 8 years old. She was taken from me, against my will several years ago, and I miss her very much. I have made many numerous attempts to be a part of my daughter’s life, but they have kept her from me…. for NO GOOD REASON!!! My wife and I have six wonderful children at home, but my heart and life is so incomplete without Bella. I WILL REWARD ANYONE WHO CAN HELP ME GET IN TOUCH WITH HER. YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT BellasDAD55@yahoo.com, or ProjectFIGHTBACK@yahoo.com I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN. I LOVE YOU, BELLA! ~Daddy

ATTENTION: ANYONE THAT KNOWS JENNIFER HERKEL who works at SMNRC (5640 rand blvd. Sarasota, Florida.) 941-917-4950, WILLIAM OR REBECCA HERKEL, KATIE HERKEL GONZALEZ, OR HAS HEARD OF BILL’S MOBILE HOME REPAIR IN SARASOTA FLORIDA….My name is (Leonard)Patrick Gonzalez. I have opened this account in an attempt to communicate with my daughter, Mary Isabella Gonzalez (Bella). Today (04/19/2009) she turned 8 years old. She was taken from me, against my will several years ago, and I miss her very much. I have made many numerous attempts to be a part of MY daughter’s life, and ONE DAY you will understand EVERYTHING, Bella. I have called and sent messages on countless occasions to you to no avail. These postings are my only hope to reach you …for the time being. Bella, if you find this posting please know that your Daddy LOVES YOU AND MISSES YOU DEARLY. My heart aches for you, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. Everyday you are on my mind, and I know that one day we WILL be reunited. We WILL be together again. ONE DAY YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING, YOU WILL SEE THE DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE,& YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT WHY WE HAVE BEEN KEPT APART… and then we will have a wonderful life together. All of the Birthdays, and Holidays that we have missed together will be re-done. You have two Baby Brothers, and five older brothers. You have Grandparents that you’ve never met, who love you and miss you. Uncles, Aunts, and a lot of family that has been deprived you. NONE OF THIS WAS EVER YOUR FAULT! THOSE RESPONSIBLE KNOW WHO THEY ARE…ALL I KNOW IS THAT I HURT FOR YOU EVERYDAY. WHEN YOU FIND THIS, YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT BellasDAD55@yahoo.com, or ProjectFIGHTBACK@yahoo.com I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN. I LOVE YOU, BELLA! ~Daddy WE MISS YOU AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOON!!!

Gonzalez copied their photographs from Web sites of Sarasota business leaders and politicians and sets them up as online “friends.” The well-known Sarasotans include former Mayor Lou Ann Palmer, real estate broker Charles Knowles and banker Veronica Brady.

He creates a fake message from Palmer to him saying that she would e-mail a lawyer’s name and phone number for help and “Please feel free to call my private line once you have spoken with him to let me know how things are looking.”

The day of the murders, Gonzalez wrote a message on the site that read “making a change for humanity” and changed his status to “adventurous.”


Sheriff Morgan appears on three national morning shows, CBS “Early Show,” “Fox and Friends” and “Today Show.” He reveals this new information in a brief interview with “Today Show” host Matt Lauer. Morgan says investigators are nearing the arrest of an eighth person. His investigators are awaiting word from the State Attorney’s Office before they make the arrest.


At 6 a.m. before she appears on ABC’s Good Morning America. Ashley holds another press conference. Spencer has prepared another written statement:

Again, we would like to thank all law enforcement agencies, the community, our family and friends. We are relieved that the people involved in this crime have been apprehended, and we are certain that justice will be served.

The events that have unfolded in the last week, in the last couple of days, have devastated our family. As you know, our Mom and Dad were loving, caring, giving people. They have simply been taken from our lives too soon.

Mom and Dad devoted their lives, in a large part, to educating others about children with special needs. While many say the children were blessed to have my Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad would tell you if they could, that they were the ones most blessed. They wanted to be the voice for children without a voice, they wanted to give these children a chance, and they wanted to give them a childhood. But it did not stop with children. Many friends will tell you that Mom and Dad were willing to help others who needed it. An example of this is their kindness to friends who recently lost their home in foreclosure. Mom and Dad gave them a home for their family until they could get back on their feet. There are many, many examples of this kind of generosity.

We have lost two people who were truly trying to make the world a better place, one person at a time. The family plans to continue their legacy in the community, as that is what they taught us to do.

The Billings children are coping well. We have an incredible family and we are more than capable of carrying through with the plan our parents have in place. As a result of the overwhelming support and outpouring of generosity from all over the country, we are establishing a trust for the nine younger Billings children. We are so grateful for this extraordinary kindness and will announce the details regarding the trust as soon as they become available.

Again, we would like to express our deep, heartfelt thanks to this community, and to all that have kept us in your prayers. We will need them more than ever in the coming weeks.

Though nothing will ever take away the pain of this horrible tragedy, the love, prayers and support have helped us as we grieve. We know that Mom and Dad are looking down upon us from heaven. We will continue to draw upon the memory of their warmth, compassion, love and strength as we continue through these difficult days. And, we know that they will be by our side every step of the way.

On the show, Ashley says, “I just can’t believe that there’s people in the world who are capable of this type of hate. This is just unimaginable.”


Investigators Hardy and Baggett get a search warrant for Donnie Stallworth Jr.’s vehicle from Judge Terry Terrill. It is later served by them and Okaloosa County Investigator Bob Grapone. The vehicle is transported by wrecker to ECSO.

Tyree and Watts speak with Fredrick Thornton at the ECSO. Thornton can’t identify Pam Wiggins from a photo line-up as having been at the antique shop after the Billings incident. He says he had only seen the female at night and had only seen the side of her face for a few seconds. Thorton immediately identified Patrick Gonzalez from a photo line-up.

Tyree was tasked with completing a search warrant for the van belonging to Pam Wiggins. Tyree writes in this report that Wayne Coldiron had reported the weapons used in the crime coming from her home and a search warrant of the residence recovered several weapons. ECSO wants to search her van for possibly having more weapons.

He also completed a preliminary Warrant Affidavit for the arrest of Pamela Wiggins, charging her with one count of Accessory After the Fact to Murder. Both are completed and presented to asst. State Attorney Greg Marcille. Since the arrest of the seven men, the State Attorney’s Office has requested all affidavits be approved by their office prior to submission to a judge. The ECSO believes the safe and weapons had been transported in Wiggins’ van after the incident.


Sheriff David Morgan holds a noon press conference on the Billings double murder to name an additional person of interest in the case. The conference room is packed and televised live nationwide.

Morgan says that the latest person of interest is Pamela Laverne Long, 48. She has several aliases, including Pamela Wiggins, Pamela Malden, Pamela Long Link and Pamela Laverne Long Coco. She has had no contact with the sheriff’s department for 48 hours and Morgan asks the public to help locate her.

“Our intent is not to harass Ms. Long. We need to speak to Ms. Long,” Morgan says. She is well known in the Gulf Breeze area, Morgan says, but he would not provide her last known address. He identifies her as realtor who rented property to one of the persons charged with murder in the case.

“She has not provided us any information. That is why we want to speak with her,” the sheriff said. He said she is wanted as a witness, not as a murder suspect.

Reporters ask about the camera surveillance system at the Billings residence. Morgan believes it was someone’s job to disable the security system at the Billings’ compound, but that did not happen.

“Why was this system left on in an otherwise perfectly executed murder?” he says. “There may have been someone in this case who’s very duty was to disable the security system.”

“Obviously there is an eighth or ninth person,” he says. Morgan adds the seven people already arrested believed they were not under surveillance as they committed the crimes.

Morgan ends the press conference with a question from a reporter who wanted comment on suspect Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr.’s request to be released without bond.

“And people in hell want ice water,” Morgan said.

At 1:10 p.m. Charles Wiggins, Pam Wiggins’ attorney, calls the Sheriff’s Office to tell the investigators that he is aware that they are looking for his client and he wishes to arrange for Ms. Wiggins to turn herself in.

Before Barber could call the attorney back, she receives a message to call Lt. Constantino, Orange Beach Police Department, in reference to Pam. Wiggins. A Timothy Powell had called the OBPD and reported that she was on a boat at The Wharf in Orange Beach.

Tyree and Ward are notified and head that direction. Sgt. Roberts, OBPD, calls Barber to say that the boat possibly belonged to Leonard Gonzalez, Jr. and the dock master advises that there were people on the boat who asked a mechanic to assist them in getting the boat started.

The boat, “The Classy Lady,” is docked in Slip #166 behind the amphitheater. Barber requests that Sgt. Roberts have OBPD units respond to the pier and detain Wiggins pending on Tyree and Ward’s arrival.

Tyree and Ward arrive at the dock at 1:40 p.m. They see the red 2005 Chevy Van belonging to Pam Wiggins in the parking lot. Wiggins is sitting on her 47-foot yacht along with her husband, Hugh Wiggins.

Sgt Nesmith arrives a few minutes later and goes with the OBPD to make contact with the Wiggins.

Tyree interviews with Timothy Powell. His wife had told him about the press conference and Powell knew that Wiggins was at the dock. Powell had gotten a phone message that morning that Wiggins wanted him to help get their boat started. The name the caller used was Long, the same name Sheriff Morgan used at the press conference.

When Powell called the marina to find out who the owner of the boat was, he was told “Dr. Patrick Gonzalez.” That is the name on the lease agreement. Powell had tried to call the ECSO but couldn’t get through so he called the OBPD. When say Pam and Hugh Wiggins walking on the pier in his direction, he ducked into a nearby boat that he was working on.

While Powell was waiting for law enforcement to arrive, his cell phone rang. It displayed an 850 area code so he answered thinking it was the ECSO. It was Hugh Wiggins who proceeded to talk to him about fixing his battery problem.

Powell was in a nearby boat, walked out and waved at Wiggins. They hung up and Powell walked over to “The Classy Lady.”

“I noticed he was very nervous and very cautious looking down the docks.” Powell told he could fix the boat then, but would come back after lunch.

“I was trying to buy time to get back to you guys.”

Powell didn’t know where they were going. In her phone message, Long/Wiggins had said, “We need to go out today.”

Tyree follows Pam Wiggins back to the ECSO. She and her husband have volunteered to speak to the ECSO.

While Pam Wiggins is being apprehended, James Wilson comes to ECSO and meets with Barber in the lobby. He reports that on May 21, Patrick and Pam Long came into his family’s medical center trying to get pain medication for Ms. Long. She listed Patrick as her brother, who had been to their office previously to get pain medication for a neck injury and had been referred for neurosurgery. They felt Gonzalez was using Long to get more pain pills from them since they had denied him in the past and he continued to call and ask for medication.

The couple waited several hours trying to get pain pills, even though the doctors had refused them. Wilson said that during past visits Gonzalez had bragged about being able to disable someone with one blow and was nice to the office staff until they refused to give him any more pain medication.

On June 2 and June 5, he tried to get the doctor’s home address and phone number. They said Gonzalez asked so many times that it was making the staff nervous.

Press Conference

At 3 p.m. Sheriff Morgan announces that Pamela Long Wiggins was found in Orange Beach, Alabama at a marina by the Orange Beach Police Department. Morgan doesn’t whether Long was trying to leave the area on a boat. Long is driving with her attorney back to ECSO for questioning. Long is being cooperative, according to Morgan.

One of the reporters at the press conference says that Wiggins’ neighbors had told them that a red van was seen at her home. Morgan doesn’t confirm whether that was the red van used by the intruders at the Billings home.

Morgan describes Wiggins as a friend of the Patrick Gonzalez family was known to drive the wife and children on errand.

“We know that she was associated with Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. up until the day of the murders,” Morgan says. “She is a person of interest because of her association with him.”

Once back to ECSO, Tyree is ready to take his search warrant for the Chevy van to Judge Ross Goodman but holds off getting a signature until Sgt Nesmith’s interview with Wiggins to see if new information uncovered would provide more or less probable cause

Hardy interviews Pam Long Wiggins at the request of State Attorney Bill Eddins. Her attorney Charlie Wiggins is present.

Hugh Wiggins is granted limited immunity. Tyree and Guy interview him with his attorney Eric Stevenson.

At 6:30 p.m. Investigator Lee Tyree interviewed Hugh Wiggins, who was accompanied by his attorney Eric Stevenson. ASA Greg Marcille explained to Wiggins the conditions of his limited immunity in exchange for Wiggins helping law enforcement find the safe and weapons.

Wiggins told Tyree and Marcille that his wife had told him that the safe taken from the Billings home was under some bricks in the backyard of the 1247 Ramblewood Drive residence. The murder weapon, according to his wife, was under the back seat of her early 70s model GS.

When asked about the other weapons used in the crime, Wiggins said that he had dropped some long guns off with friend, Eddie Denson, in Moss Point, Miss. Special agents were immediately dispatched and recovered two Mossberg .12 gauge shotguns, a MAK 90 assault rifle, a Ruger mini-14 and a .223 cal AR variant rifle.

After the interviews with Pam Wiggins and Hugh Wiggins, Investigator Tom Watts completed a new arrest report for Pamela Wiggins, who was then arrested by Watts for one count of Accessory after the Fact to Murder.

CST Wayne Wright is directed to 6905 W. Jackson Street to recover suspected weapon related to the case. A red 1971 Buick GS convertible is parked in the driveway. The ECSO investigators had removed the cover and the driver’s door open. The back seat had been pulled up and a brown paper bag wrapped in tape was visible in the springs underneath the seat. At Lt. Ray Briggs’ request, Wright cuts one the paper bag with an incision made along one edge. Inside was found a white plastic bag and inside it–a Springfield Armory 9mm pistol. There was no clip in the weapon and no ammunition in the chamber. Sheffield’s Towing is called to tow the car to the ECSO garage.

At 8 p.m. CST Christine Purcell is sent to Pam Wiggins’ Ramblewood residence. She is met by SAO Investigator Aittama in the backyard. Under a pile of bricks, they find several black garbage bags covering a Sentry S0500 safe.


At 8:30 p.m. Sheriff Morgan holds his third press conference of the day. The reporters are tired and testy. It’s a brief press conference.

Morgan announces another arrest in the Beulah double murder case. Pamela Long Wiggins has been arrested and charged with accessory after the fact to felony murder.

“The complexity of this case is staggering,” Morgan says.

The reporters won’t let go of the rumors of drugs and DEA involvement. CNN had reported earlier today that the DEA was involved in the case.

“As for Escambia County Sheriff, I have no knowledge of any DEA involvement in this case,” Morgan says. “I have not spoken to any representative of the Drug Enforcement Agency today.”

To the reporters’ relief, the sheriff announces that there will not be another press conference until 10 a.m. Thursday.

“Tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. we’ll hold a joint press conference with the state attorney’s office and the Escambia County Sheriff’s office. We will fill you in on the specifics of these charges and Miss Wiggins.”

Copyright © 2009 Rick Outzen

You Might Also Like