KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - Kentwood police are now classifying Javonte Higgins a suspect in the slayings of David and Vivian Bouwman. Higgins is not yet in custody.
"We believe at this time Javonte Higgins should be considered armed and dangerous," Kentwood Police Chief Tom Hillen said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
This comes days after Higgins and another, as-yet-unidentified man were deemed "persons of interest" in the Jan. 5 killings of the Bouwmans inside their home on Stowevalley Drive in Princeton Estates.
After they were killed, their 2001 Cadillac DeVille was stolen, driven four miles to a Wyoming apartment complex, doused with an accelerant and set on fire.
Investigators believe that unidentified man was involved in burning the car and may have been involved in more of the crime than just the arson.
Though they wouldn't reveal why, authorities believe Higgins is still in the greater Grand Rapids area -- and will "aggressively seek prosecution" of anyone who may be helping Higgins in any way.
Higgins, 22, is described as a 5-foot-6, 160-pound black man with black hair and brown eyes. He sustained serious injuries to his hips when he crashed an allegedly stolen car in Wyoming in December, authorities say, and now walks with a severe limp.
"People know where he's at, and I think with the added information that he's limping and stuff like this, it will help us to home in even more," Hillen said.
Last week, Kentwood police searched a home in Princeton Estates that was his last known residence, then on Saturday brought another heavy police presence to that same neighborhood. They'd received word of another possible break-in at a home, but discovered there was nothing to that tip.
The death certificates revealed David Bouwman, 81, was shot in the head, neck and chest. His 80-year-old wife Vivian was shot in the head and the neck. Both died within minutes.
The investigation continues, and the reward for information that leads to a conviction is now up to $9,500. Anyone with information is asked to call Kentwood police at 616.698.6580 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
Residents of the Princeton Estates neighborhood met Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Kentwood library to discuss crime prevention and safety.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.