MOUNT DORA, Fla. – Authorities investigating the New Year’s Eve murders of an elderly Florida couple have identified their alleged killer, who was arrested in Georgia while driving the victims’ car.
Vickie Lynn Williams, 50, was arrested Monday in Savannah, according to authorities. Williams, who is awaiting extradition to Florida, is accused of killing Darryl Getman, 83, and his wife, 80-year-old Sharon Getman, inside their home in the Waterman Villages retirement community in Mount Dora.
According to Mount Dora police officials, Williams was an apparent stranger to the couple, and their killings appear to be random. Interim police Chief Michael Gibson told reporters on Tuesday that Williams, who lives in Savannah, has no known connection to Mount Dora and very limited connections to Central Florida.
The Getmans’ bodies were found Saturday after a neighbor reported that their garage door was open, which was unusual. Their cause of death has not been made public.
Gibson said that Williams is charged with grand theft auto of the couple’s Kia Soul, which had been reported stolen from their home. Additional charges are pending.
The victims’ adult children issued a statement on Wednesday that was obtained by WFTV in Orlando.
“We are stunned, devastated and heartbroken by the horrific murder of our parents,” Anthony and Brittany Getman said. “If there are words to describe what has happened and its impact to our family and the community, we have not found them.”
The Getmans, who were married for 58 years, had lived in Mount Dora for about 20 years and were “enjoying their golden years staying active and spending time with their many friends,” the statement read.
Gibson said living one’s “golden years in retirement” is something most people dream of.
“In this case, the golden years of Darryl and Sharon were tragically cut short by a ruthless and senseless double homicide,” the chief said.
A repeat intruder
The first sign of trouble came around 3 p.m. Friday when a woman believed to be Williams entered the community on Lake Margaret Circle, Gibson said at a news conference. The woman, who the chief described as “dressed in a particular way,” was spotted by security and escorted out of the neighborhood through a rear entrance.
Just over an hour later, that same woman in the “very unique” outfit was seen again on security footage along Lake Margaret Circle.
Later that night, just before 11 p.m., the woman went to an apartment at 301 Lake Margaret Circle and knocked on the door. The female resident answered.
“This person of interest asked, ‘Can I take a shower?’” Gibson said.
The startled resident hit a panic button, which alerted security.
“Did you just call 911?” the woman asked.
When the woman realized the resident had called for help, she grabbed a set of the resident’s keys and fled. The keys were to a mailbox and a car, but Gibson said the car to which they belonged was not the Getmans’ green Kia.
By the time security and Mount Dora police officers arrived, they could find no sign of the intruder.
At 2:02 a.m. Saturday, security cameras captured an image of the Getmans’ car being driven out of the community.
About 10 minutes later, the intruder from the night before returned to the gate, on foot, but security would not let her in, Gibson said.
“(They) sent her packing,” the chief said. “However, they were alarmed, and they did follow her down to the edge of the property, where she made a right-hand turn onto, like, a service road for construction.”
Security officers lost sight of the woman.
It was around 4 p.m. that same day when the Getmans’ neighbor, concerned about the garage being open at 161 Lake Margaret Circle, called in the security officers who found the victims’ bodies, the chief said.
Watch Tuesday’s news conference below, courtesy of the Mount Dora Buzz.
Gibson, borrowing an analogy from Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Lee Massie, described the case as a 3,000-piece puzzle.
“We’ve simply put together the corners and the sides,” the chief said. “We have a long way to go. It’s a 3,000-piece puzzle with a whole bunch of things in the middle.”
Gibson said he’s “pretty confident in the investigation at this point.”
The slain couple’s children also expressed confidence in the investigation, as well as in Gibson and Massie and their detectives.
“They and their teams have worked tirelessly together and with other agencies to solve this crime,” Anthony and Brittany Getman said. “We look forward to a successful resolution.
“We humbly ask you to respect our privacy in this most difficult time, and to allow law enforcement to complete their mission to solve this tragically unnecessary crime.”
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