On Sunday, May 29, 2011 at approximately 1:00 p.m. Boone County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 7400 block of Ridge Edge Court near Florence, Kentucky to investigate the discovery (by a family member) of the deaths William & Peggy Stephenson in their home. They were last heard from on Friday the 27th and when they failed to attend church services on Sunday, a member of the family went to their home to check on their well being.
On November 15, 2012 lead detectives Coy Cox & Matt Mullins traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they presented the double homicide case to the Vidocq Society (http://vidocq.org), a group of 82 professional members who bring a broad array of forensic and other experience to assist in cold case investigations. The Vidocq Society (Vee dock) is dedicated to dealing with long-unsolved murders and other major cases but, fortunately for us, waived their two year period based on the circumstances of the case.
The Society chooses its cases carefully as they are limited in staff. They work closely with local investigators and prosecutors to help solve a death or homicide and bring perpetrators to justice. All work is done, at no cost to victim’s families or law enforcement, pro bono as part of the Society’s commitment to public service.
Following the presentation a Vidocq member, Mark Safarik, said, “there was a consensus among the Vidocq members who took part in the consultation that this is clearly a solvable crime and the unique characteristics of the homicide have provided valuable information about the offender.” Safarik went on to say, “the offender likely made disparaging comments about the victims or related family members immediately after the homicides when there were news stories. Comments that at the time would have seemed odd to whoever heard them as they had no context within which to evaluate the comments. The public should also be cognizant of anyone talking disparagingly about either the victims or their immediate family members in response to articles that will appear in the media as we devote significant resources to the investigation. For example, the offender may have said in a response to a news piece on the case, that the victims probably deserved it or they should have locked their doors or been more careful…something to that effect.”
The Stephensons case now has some of the top experts in the country analyzing it, affording the investigation a new set of eyes that have already uncovered areas on which to focus our efforts. Additionally, Vidocq has provided perpetrator profile information which is giving investigators another option to explore. In addition, the Society is willing to assist by providing financial support for expensive private testing for DNA and any electronic evidence. The $100,000 reward will expire today but to help defer the aforementioned costs, the Stephenson family is planning on making a donation to the Vidocq Society.
Sheriff Michael A. Helmig is fully dedicated to the successful conclusion of the case to provide the surviving family who endure daily the anguish of losing their loved ones, some closure. In order to put a killer behind bars, Helmig would like people to think back to the weekend of May 28th/29th, 2011. “We’re looking for information on anyone that may have had ties to our area”, Helmig said. This could be a person who visited Oakbrook or the surrounding area that weekend or it could be as innocuous as teenagers who hang out around the plaza across the street. Many area high schools had graduation events that night. Also, anyone who noticed behavior changes in another since that Memorial Day weekend which could include an increase in drug or alcohol use, hospitalization for unexplained mental issues, or a general change in their personality that seems unusual is urged to contact us at the Stephenson tip line at 859-334-8496 or go to our website (www.boonecountyky.org/SO).