Kentwood Homeowners Talk Security After Double Murder; Suspect On Run

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jan 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 10:03:38-05

KENTWOOD, Mich. — More than 100 homeowners from the Princeton Estates neighborhood in Kentwood gathered at the Kentwood Branch Library on Monday evening to talk security and safety.

Kentwood police also attended the community meeting.

“I wanted to find out more about the current crime going in our neighborhood,” said homeowner Doug DeBruin, “and I was a little disappointed no information was available other than what’s on the news so far.”

“So I came away with just more crime prevention tips.”

Homeowners have been concerned about safety after a break-in turned double murder involving their neighbors. David Bouwman, 81, and his wife Vivian Bouwman, 80, were found shot to death in their Princeton Estates home on Jan. 5 after a break-in. The handgun was never recovered.

Their Cadillac was stolen, dumped off, and torched at a Wyoming Apartment Complex several miles away.

“I considered our neighborhood safe and I still do, but we are taking more precautions now,” said DeBruin.

After receiving more than 75 tips in the case and working long hours, Kentwood police have named a suspect in the case: Javonte Higgins, 22.

“We believe at this time that Javonte Higgins should be considered armed and dangerous,” said Kentwood Police Chief Tom Hillen.

Police and swat teams searched the home Higgin’s parents on Vicksburg Court for evidence last week, but it is unclear what they found. The suspect is wanted on two felony warrants for prior crimes and is a fugitive.

Higgins also has a criminal past that dates back to his teenage years that includes marijuana possession, lying to police, assault, and a string of break-ins.

He also currently has a hip injury. “Several weeks ago Javonte Higgins suffered severe injuries to his hips, and he now walks with a severe limp, ” said Chief Hillen.

The injuries stem from a crash in December in Kentwood. Higgins was driving a vehicle he stole after a break-in in Wyoming.

Police said the warrant wasn’t issued at that time because he was still in the hospital with critical injuries. Investigators tell FOX 17 News that’s typical procedure. They said a guard doesn’t have to be provided at the hospital. However, Higgins left, and now he’s on the run.

“People know where he’s at, and with the added information he’s limping, it will help us even more,” said Chief Tom Hillen. “It is just a matter of time before we pick him up.”

Kentwood detectives believe Javonte Higgins may have had help. They have released a sketch of a person of interest in the case who may be connected to the vehicle arson.

With the open investigation, neighbors close to the crimes are making their own adjustments.

“We’ve installed a security system and are trying to be more aware of what was going on,” said homeowner DeBruin.

Silent Observer is offering a $9,500 reward to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest.

Please call 616-774-2345 with tips and information.