Local News

Two calls reveal how Fayetteville family was found

Posted November 5, 2009
Updated November 6, 2009

— Fayetteville police on Thursday released two 911 calls made from the home where a family died Monday night.

When the operator answered the first call, at 6:38 p.m., no one responded. The sounds of someone in distress and what could be a gunshot are audible.

The 911 call center received more than 46,000 "abandoned calls" in a year, police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said. The policy is for the operator to attempt to re-dial the incoming number and, if the call comes from a landline phone, pinpoint a location.

If this call was made from a cell phone without a Global Positioning System, Chance said, the call's origin could only be narrowed down to the nearest cell tower.

More than an hour later, a second call came in.

In it, a man identifies himself and says he has arrived at the home of his daughter. "We've got what appears to be ... murder-suicide," he says. In the background, there is the sound of knocking and a woman says, "I knew it. I knew it."

Police said William "Billy" Maxwell Jr., 47, killed his family at 314 West Park Drive. The victims included his wife, Kathryn Maxwell, 43, daughter Connor Maxwell, 17, and son Cameron Maxwell, 15.

The caller tells the emergency operator that he can see through the door that something is very wrong. "We've been trying to contact our daughter," he says.

Chance said, "The (in-laws) were able to look right through the front window and see there were deceased bodies."

When officers arrived, they looked through the window and saw Kathryn Maxwell's body, Chance said. They entered the house and found Billy Maxwell Jr. and his son. They found his daughter's body further inside the home.

Community in shock

The family attended Snyder Memorial Baptist Church. Friends said the siblings were involved in the youth ministry and the youth choir, and their father was a deacon.

Business associates and friends said Wednesday there was nothing to suggest that Billy Maxwell might become violent.

“He was obviously under some sort of strain," Billy Maxwell's business partner, George Rose, said.

“That guy loved his family. He wouldn’t have done anything, if he was thinking right, to hurt his family,” Rose said.

Funeral services for the Maxwell family will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, 701 Westmont Drive in Fayetteville.


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  • kfestus Nov 9, 2009

    Where is Jesus in all this mess? Isn't your God supposed to protect believers from these things? Or is this one of those "he wanted them to come home" type deals? By the way, your Bible says that dead people don't go to Heaven until AFTER Judgement Day. Until then, they just lie in the ground and rot.

  • jallen3302 Nov 6, 2009

    After a couple of quick google searches it looks like the closest cell tower was about 2 miles from their house. Any guesses as to how many places are in a 2 mile circle from that point? Even if officers had been sent, A) there's no guarantee they get to the right house OR B) Even IF they had gotten the right house that it would have changed anything. Sometimes bad things happen that the Police, Telecommunicators or anyone else cannot prevent. If the call had been from a landline, an exact location (incl Apt letter/#) should have shown on the Call-Taker's screen & someone should have been sent.

    People, please do yourself a favor & use a landline if at ALL possible for 911.

    My heart goes out to the families if all those involved, especially the in-laws who found them.

  • Ladybug1 Nov 6, 2009

    Such a sad, sad event. One must wonder, what was going on to make someone do such a thing. The story tells us the family was very involved in the church and the dad was a God fearing man. We can only guess that he was not thinking clearly and that he will be forgiven. We have to pray for family members left with all these questions.

  • Jay4 Nov 6, 2009

    Thoughts and prayers have been going out for the loved ones, the friends, the community in which this family lived. So tragic.

    Mental illness - psychosis - is a terrible thing and can happen to virtually anyone.

    Having said that - I would like someone who knows the facts to reveal how the police are certain this was murder suicide. The only evidence that's come out so far is that friends and family said Mr. Maxwell was not himself in recent months. But the only "evidence" of this that I have been able to find is that he confiscated his children's cell phones last week because he believed they were being "tracked" and that he shot out a window in their home - on Sunday for some reason.♠

    Just want to know how the police are certain the Maxwell family was not murdered by someone other than Mr. Maxwell....who then made it appear to be murder suicide. If he feared others trying to harm his family, it could be his paranoid schizophrenia or it could have been fact.

  • momee Nov 6, 2009

    BIGUNCfan.. That is not passing judgement..It is stating a FACT.
    Read the BIBLE

  • MyKidRox Nov 5, 2009

    All of us can easily sit at our computers and pass judgement on Billy and his actions. However, none of us will ever know what the poor man was going through and his mental state at the time of the incident. I knew Billy through the real estate business and always found him to be clever, kind, and God-fearing. Above all though, he was the epitome of the family man. The hurtful comments here serve no purpose. Why would anyone offer up such garbage knowing this man's family and friends will read it and be so hurt? Don't any of you have a moral compass? Focusing on the gory details only makes it worse. It is what it is...a man saw his only light at the end of a dark tunnel and it was to take his life and the lives of the ones he loved most. Tragic? Yes! Unfathomable? Yes. An unfortunate outcome for a beautiful family? Yes. Please be considerate and think twice before you judge someone you don't know. Prayers are with the departed and those left behind.

  • RonnieR Nov 5, 2009

    Me thinks that if the phone is still on that it can be triangulated if there are three towers receiving the phones signal. Do not have to have a GPS on the phone, but GPS does make it quicker.

  • simracer68 Nov 5, 2009

    "Does Fayetteville PD have the capabilities to locate cell phone callers?"

    Call came from a wireless (cell) phone. Yes, FayPD can track cellphones, but only if the cellphones are GPS/911 enabled (you can turn off 911 location on most all cellphones). If the phone was not a PhaseII 911/GPS-enabled phone, then exact location is impossible - though they can ID the receiving tower which would give them a 5-10 mile radius from that tower to search.

    Also, do not read too much into the mother/mother-in-law's "I knew it!" comment on the 911 tape. This *could* mean there was undisclosed issues in the family, it could *also mean* that she knew that something was wrong when she couldn't reach her daughter - you know, one of those "bad feelings" people get when, unbeknownst to them, their parents or kids are hurt or in trouble. I had one of those once, and my wife had nearly just been killed in an auto accident...though I didn't know it for another hour.

  • wildcat Nov 5, 2009

    Suicide is never the answer and it never solves nothing. Seek help, by going to a counselor, or minister.

  • wildcat Nov 5, 2009

    but don't kill others in the process.

    I agree with you, totally. Innocent children killed. Even the children's mother. This was an american tragedy. Continue to pray for the families.