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Murder/Suicide in West Fork

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June 8, 2011 by wcobserver

By Tim Dennis

WEST FORK- A murder and suicide on Campbell Community Road left two dead on May 18.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call at 2:55 p.m. from Melanie Ackley, a neighbor of Geri Heyliger, 46. Ackley saw the white truck owned by Robert Heyliger, 49, parked on her property. Ackley informed the 911 dispatcher that Robert was in violation of a protection order and that she was worried about Geri Heyliger’s safety.

Another 911 call came from the Heyliger residence. One of the Heyligers’ sons told authorities that he found both of his parents dead outside of the home.

Deputies arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after the initial emergency call, but the incident likely took place before the call was even made, said Capt. Dallas McClelland of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

“The victim had brought some stuff from town to give to a neighbor lady, and [she] had dropped that off,” McClelland said. “From talking to some witnesses, we believe that the incident took place somewhere between 2:30 and 2:40.”

Preliminary investigations have reported that Robert Heyliger waited for his wife to arrive at the residence. Geri Heyliger pulled into the driveway, and as she exited her vehicle, Robert Heyliger shot her multiple times. Deputies found his body 15 feet away. The Washington County Coroner pronounced both dead at the scene.

“I didn’t know there was any type of problems going on with the family at all,” said LuAnn Leichner, a friend of the family. Her son Garren played sports with the Heyliger’s youngest son Joseph.

“We became very good acquaintances with Geri and Bob at the games, and then Garren and Joseph and Bob’s birthdays are close together,” Leichner said. “They’re close to Memorial Day, so when we did our Memorial Day stuff, we would always invite them and kind of celebrate their birthdays at the same time.”

Robert Heyliger was arrested on March 11 on charges of terroristic threatening and domestic assault. Washington County deputy Taylor Reed responded to the house that evening in response to a 911 call by Geri Heyliger.

Reed saw visible signs of Heyliger’s anger when he responded that night. A hole had been knocked through the sheet rock in a coat closet and a bedroom door was missing, although a chunk of wood from the door was still attached to one of the hinges. Heyliger tore the door from its hinges after threatening Mrs. Heyliger’s life.

“I never saw that side of Bob. I don’t know what could have happened,” Leichner said. “I know he couldn’t have been thinking because he loves his kids, and I don’t think he would have ever put the kids in the situation that they’re in now.”

Robert Heyliger was arrested by the Greenland Police Department, and was served with a temporary protection order March 15. Geri Heyliger filed for divorce at the end of March. The protection order became permanent on April 7.

The investigation of Robert and Geri Heyliger’s deaths is still open, as investigators are still waiting for autopsy reports to come back from the state crime lab in Little Rock.

This is the first murder in West fork in recent years. Capt. McClelland — who has been in Washington County for the past 22 years — said he could not remember any murders in West fork in recent years. The last murder near West Fork was near Highway 170 when Shane Gore committed a double homicide on his parents in October 2005. Gore pleaded guilty in 2007 to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

 

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