Beneath the Bridge: 3 years later, East Texas mother looking for answers in son's murder

Published: Sep. 10, 2014 at 10:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM CDT
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Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It's been three years since a Livingston man was shot and killed, and his body was dumped in a creek bed. Ever since that day, his mother has been waiting and hoping for justice for her son's murder.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office said their investigation has taken them across seven counties, but they still need help connecting the dots to put the persons responsible in jail.

Rhonda Wills got the knock on her door. The knock that no mother ever wants.

"I felt something was troubling me, but I just didn't know what. I couldn't shake it off in my heart," Wills said. "The Liberty County Sheriff came to my house 2011, three years ago, and gave me the bad news what happened to my son. They found him up under a bridge in Liberty County."

"Upon arrival we found a black male in a creek bed who had been shot and obviously wasn't alive, and so the homicide investigation started at that point," said Sergeant Joel Davila with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office

When Carl Wills' body was found under the bridge, the creek bed was dry, and it was a chance encounter that he was found as a grieving father came down here to where he and his son used to fish.

"A gentleman that actually found him had lost his son prior to this incident an unrelated situation, and so he would go there to reminisce and have memories of his son," Davila said.

Carl Wills was just 22-years-old when he was killed on September 1, 2011, and his body dumped off Plantation Ranch Road in Liberty County.

He was a son, a friend, and a father.

"He had a 2-year-old son when his life was taken," Wills said.

Rhonda says Carl was a good person. She said he didn't deserve what happened to him.

"He wasn't perfect. Nobody's perfect but he was a good son," Wills said. "He loved to clown, laugh, make people laugh you know, he was just a joyful person."

The Wills murder is an open case for the Liberty County Sheriff's Office. The details have taken the lead investigator across seven counties gathering information and facts but no arrests have been made yet.

"The people that I believe are responsible for his death, his murder actually know him," Davila said. "And like I said, those are part of the people we have as persons of interest."

Investigators believe that Carl Wills was killed somewhere between Polk and San Jacinto counties, and his body dumped under the bridge. They have never been able to find the location where he was killed, but believe they know who is responsible. They just need help connecting the dots.

But investigators say they believe his death is drug related.

"I feel pretty confident that we know who the people are. We believe more than one person is responsible for his death," Wills said.

However, knowing her son's killers are still out there doesn't sit well with Rhonda.

"It's not no perfect murder. A murder always leaves something behind and I promise my child I won't let them get away with it," Wills said.

"Whoever was involved, whoever knew this was going to happen, who plotted this up against my only son, they were cowards," Wills said. "They lured him away from his family and got him off by himself and to shoot my child in the back and in the back of the head. That was so evil. They were cowards to do that."

Rhonda Wills has vowed to get justice for her son.

"I want justice and whoever was involved, whoever set my child up, whoever pulled the trigger on my child, I hope they go to the pen for life," Wills said. "There's somebody that wants to come up and tell me what happened to my child, but they're afraid. But I wish somebody would just open up their heart and say to themselves you know Carl Wills mother has hurt too long."

Rhonda says the pain of losing a child will never go away, but she also grieves for her grandson, who will never know his father.

"I am Carl Wills mother and that was my child. My child, my son that I carried for nine months, and they took him away from me. They just don't know the pain they done put inside me when they snatched him away from me," Wills said. "You learn to live with it but you never forget. It's a pain. It's a pain that won't go away."

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office is waiting on some DNA analysis from the DPS crime lab. They have also asked the Texas Rangers' Cold Case Division to get involved in their investigation. If you have any information about this case call the Liberty County Sheriff's Office: 936-366-4500.

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