UPDATE: Investigators Are Gathering Evidence, Building Case

DEKALB CO., Ala. (WHNT) – Law enforcement agencies from three counties say they’re working to charge the person or people responsible for Gary Lee Willis’ death with murder, and they say they are steps closer to doing so.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris says three people are charged with kidnapping and are being held in the DeKalb County Jail on a $1 million bond:

-Christopher Todd Cagle, 28, of Albertville
-Delia May Downs, 33, of Albertville
-Michael Stanley Townsel, Jr., 28 of Fort Payne

L to R: Christopher Cagle, Delia Downs, Michael Townsel (Photos: DeKalb County Sheriff's Office)
L to R: Christopher Cagle, Delia Downs, Michael Townsel (Photos: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office)
 Sheriff Harris says his investigators are working with multiple agencies to charge at least one of those suspects with murder. “We’re trying to get them charged with capital murder right now,” Sheriff Harris says.  

Courtesy of: Etowah County Sheriff’s Office

Gary Lee Willis, 38, of Boaz (Etowah County) was reported missing recently. His body was found on County Road 135 in Geraldine in a burning car on December 17. Investigators say he was shot multiple times.

Sheriff Harris says since they’ve named the three suspects they’re hoping to move forward with a murder charge. Sheriff Harris says having all the agencies involved in a meeting got them a step closer to that charge. “We have to make sure we have the right person. We know we have the right three people,” Sheriff Harris says.

He says some of the suspects are cooperating with investigators. Sheriff Harris says they need to make some more details concrete before a murder charge can surface.

Sheriff Harris says  this case appears linked to drugs and money and that is the motive in the case.

Investigators from three counties tracked down several leads in to Marshall County, and determined Willis had been at a home on Old McVille Road, off Alabama Highway 75, on Friday, December 13, and was removed against his will.

Investigators worked through the Christmas holiday on this investigation. Sheriff Harris says several agencies have been working long hours on this case, including the DeKalb, Marshall and Etowah County Sheriff’s Offices, Geraldine Police, the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, Alabama State Troopers and the FBI.


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