KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - Investigators believe whoever killed David and Vivian Bouwman in their Kentwood home and stole their 2001 Cadillac used a bucket to spread an accelerant when the car was torched, and made contact at least one other person before the arson.
A photo released Wednesday morning shows a five-gallon "Homer's All-Purpose Bucket" from Home Depot, which police said was found near the Cadillac in the 3800 block of Madison Avenue in Wyoming.
In a news release, Kentwood Police Chief Tom Hillen said the bucket "has remnants of an accelerant" inside, and that investigators believe the bucket was used to take the accelerant to the car.
They also believe the suspect or suspects got in touch with at least one other person after the Bouwmans were killed between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Jan. 5, and before the car was set ablaze around 10 a.m.
Police said they have contacted people they call witnesses who seem to have information but are reluctant to share.
"They know crime has occurred. They know something terrible happened. We just need them to do the right thing," Chief Hillen told 24 Hour News 8. "The right thing is to step forward and say something."
If you have any information on this case -- in particular, if you saw someone carrying this kind of bucket or driving a 2001 Cadillac DeVille that morning -- call the Kentwood Police Department at 616.698.6580 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
"The tips are coming in. People have seen something. Other people know things. We need to speak to those people," said Chief Hillen.
But it takes time. Along with tracking down witnesses and leads, police have a lot of evidence to examine.
"It's a tedious process we're going through right now," Chief Hillen said.
An autopsy revealed the Bouwmans were shot to death, apparently with a handgun. David Bouwman was 81. Vivian Bouwman was 80.
"It's just so tragic," said Hillen. "What threat did they pose to anybody for them to meet such a tragic death?"
Chief Hillen seemed sure Wednesday that the case will be solved.
"I'm confident. I'm remaining optimistic that the information's going to come in."
Fred Glespie was found not guilty in the death of three children who died in an apartment fire.
Police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a gas station in Plainwell Thursday night.
The rink will be open that day from 3-9 p.m.