PENSACOLA, Florida — A safe stolen from the home of a slain Florida couple contained only jewelry, family documents and children's prescription medication, a spokeswoman for the family said Friday just before a funeral service for the couple.
Byrd and Melanie Billings were shot to death and a safe was taken from their nine-bedroom home west of Pensacola last week. Six men and a teenager are charged with murder, and a woman is charged with being an accessory after the fact.
Escambia County law enforcement said this week that robbery was a motive for the crime.
During a brief press conference outside the church, family spokeswoman Crystal Spencer said she announced the contents of the safe to put to rest intense speculation and rumors about the Billings family. She did not elaborate.
The couple was known for adopting 13 special needs children, and Dr. Ed Brock, Melanie Billings' brother, praised the couple's selflessness and kindness.
"Their lives centered around children, their family and each other," said Brock. "They loved deeply and unconditionally. They embraced the complexity of raising children with special needs and they were their advocates. They gave these children a joyous childhood and a much needed voice."
Captured on camera
Nine of the couple's adopted children were home during the break-in. Three saw the intruders but were not hurt. The couple also had four children from previous marriages. The adopted children are together and staying with family members.
A surveillance camera captured the break-in. The family had wired the home and the outside of the property with cameras so they could keep an eye on all of the children.
Video: New details State Attorney Bill Eddins said Thursday the case was mostly wrapped up.
"In our opinion, this was a home invasion robbery where the people stole a safe," he said. "It was as simple as that as to the motive."
But Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said at a news conference with Eddins that other motives may emerge and there are still people investigators want to talk to.
'People of interest'
"We have some people of interest that we're continuing to look at and I can tell you that those are now numerous people," Morgan said.
Surveillance cameras at the Billings home captured footage of masked men — some dressed as ninjas — slipping into front and back doors, and one of the people investigators want to talk to may have been someone who failed to carry out an assignment to disable them.
The surveillance videos led investigators to a full-size red van used as an initial getaway car and eventually to the suspects, a loosely connected group of mostly day laborers who knew each other through a power washing business and an auto detailing operation.
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