Gas Station To Poker Room: Police Try To Track Kentwood Murder Suspect

Posted at 7:37 PM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 22:40:56-05

KENT COUNTY, Mich.–  Kentwood Police and FBI agents have received  more than 75 tips about a recent double homicide involving an elderly couple.

On Monday, police named Javonte Higgins,22, from Kentwood as the only suspect in the murders of David and Vivian Bouwman.

The couple was found shot to death in their Kentwood home on Jan. 5. Their car was torched and dumped off at an apartment complex in Wyoming.

On Tuesday, investigators continued to follow up on any leads for the fugitive.  They stopped at the BP gas station,  located at 60th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue in Kentwood, but it turned out to be a dead end.

“They came in and showed some pictures of the guy,  but nobody had seen him and there were no video cameras, so no leads,” said the station clerk.

Investigators have been checking up on area businesses to see if Higgins has been spotted. They believe he is still in the area.

“He is considered armed and dangerous,” said Kentwood Police Chief Tom Hillen.

FBI agents made a stop at a poker room inside a bowling alley in Wyoming to follow-up on a tip that Higgins was playing poker the day the couple’s bodies were found.

“We had the FBI come and say a fugitive was here and we had no idea if it was the right person, ” said Mike Eaton, co-owner of Spectrum Lanes, which leases the property to a small poker room.

“We had a person come in here that was selling jewelry and we escorted him out the door, then a week later, they said that he may have been the person who was involved in the double homicide,” said Eaton.

“We don’t know if that was the right person and I think some misleading things are out there that we knew who the guy was and let him in the door, that’s obviously not true,” said Eaton, who had concerns because his bowling business is involved with charity work and hosts children’s events,” he said.

Higgins had been on the run from police ever since he walked away from a hospital in December, several weeks before the murders.

On Dec. 10, police said Higgins suffered serious hip injuries when he crashed a truck in Kentwood.  Investigators said he stole that vehicle from a break-in in Wyoming.

Higgins was taken to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital with what police believed to be serious injuries.

Kent County Prosecutors confirm that a warrant was not issued right away for Higgins because of the extent of his injuries and the nature of the crime at the time was a property crime.

Investigators said it’s standard procedure to hold off on a warrant, so Kent County doesn’t have to pay for the medical bills and staff an armed guard at the hospital.

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said investigators believed Higgins would be in the hospital for three weeks. Instead, not even a week after the crash, he walked out of the hospital against the doctor’s orders.

Spectrum called police, but Higgins was already in a cab and gone.

Now that he is a suspect in a double homicide, Silent Observer has increased the reward for his arrest to $10,000.