Big bank withdrawal shortly before mother and son disappear
Jennifer Wilson and Coty Wilson
Shortly before Jennifer Wilson and her son, Coty, left the family car on a Red River bridge in north Bossier Parish last week, a large amount of money was withdrawn from a bank in the form of a cashier's check, authorities said.
As sheriff's detectives watched to see if that checked is cashed, other deputies were on the Red River for a sixth day Wednesday as they looked for bodies.
There are two theories: One, that the mother and son leaped to their deaths in a bizarre double suicide. The other, that they disappeared amid an ongoing investigation that their family was allegedly involved in a string of vandalisms and arsons at deer camps and hunting leases in north Bossier Parish.
The son is facing charges of impeding that investigation and his mother is under investigation but not charged. Their father and husband, respectively, is jailed on charges of making two arson threats while sheriff's detectives investigate him in connection with other cases.
"We're committed to finding them," Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said Wednesday afternoon at a river search location several miles downstream from where the Jennifer Wilson's car was found. "Wherever they are, we're not going to stop until we do."
The Wilsons had about half a million dollars in assets, Whittington said.
About $200,000 was withdrawn from Jennifer Wilson's account hours before she was last seen, other authorities said.
A short time later, $5,000 and a note were left in the mailbox of a former girlfriend of Coty Wilson, those authorities said. The note shared how much the woman meant to Coty Wilson. That money has been seized by authorities.
"There's some more cash that's unaccounted for at this time," said Whittington, who did not provide the specifics about the amounts of money withdrawn or left with the ex-girlfriend.
Deputies from the Sheriff's Office marine unit were searching Wednesday around Cash Point just north of Bossier City. They had five boats in the water and the Caddo Sheriff's Office provided a sixth.
Whittington said a plane and cadaver dogs will join the search on Thursday and drones will be used this weekend if no one is found.
Jennifer Wilson's car was found parked on the Louisiana Highway 2 bridge Thursday afternoon with a "goodbye note" inside. No one saw her or her son on the bridge, deputies said.
Jennifer Wilson, 53, and Coty Wilson, 31, both of Cottage Grove Road in Bossier Parish, are the son and wife, respectively, of Gary Wilson, who is jailed on suspicion of involvement in the deer camp arsons and vandalisms case. Coty Wilson was free on bond after his arrest on charges he obstructed the investigation.
Coty Wilson is not considered a fugitive. His next court date is in late April.
Coty Wilson' attorney, Spencer Hayes of Bossier City, said he last talked to his client two or three days before he disappeared.
"He didn't say anything to me that would indicate he wouldn't want to live, and they never told me anything about leaving," Hayes said.
Approximately 60 instances of property damage at deer camps and hunting leases occurred in north Bossier Parish over a six-year period beginning in 2010. Deer camps were burned or vandalized, deer stands were stolen or damaged, deer cameras were taken, and homemade metal spikes were placed on roads to flatten vehicles' tires.
Todd Phillips, who lived in the area, was arrested in 2015. The Sheriff's Office last fall put new investigators on the case and arrested Gary Wilson, 54, last month. Charges against his son soon followed. Charges against Phillips were dropped last week.
Deputies asked that anyone with information about the case call detectives at 965-3418 or the Sheriff's Office main line at 965-2203.
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