WEST JORDAN —The children of a Mt. Pleasant couple discovered shot to death in their home late last week described their parents as caring and faith-focused Monday as former neighbors and co-workers expressed sadness and reflected on the impact Ann and Woody Fullwood had on their lives.
"They were kind and loving people who cared deeply for everyone — family, friends and strangers alike," a statement provided by the Fullwood family reads. "They raised us with faith in Christ, and they demonstrated this faith through service for their country, community, and family. We know that our parents are now focused, not on the events that led to their death, but on the next chapter of their eternal lives."
The couple's son is a detective for the West Jordan Police Department. Michael Fullwood has also served on the Salt Lake Area Gang Task Force and as a school resource office during his career as police officer, according to West Jordan City Council minutes.
West Jordan police would not comment on the length of Fullwood's tenure with the suburban police department nor whether his role as police officer was connected to the slaying of his parents. Questions were referred to Mt. Pleasant authorities, who were not available for comment Monday.
The bodies of Leroy Woody Fullwood, 70, and Dorothy Ann Fullwood, 69, were found in their home on the east edge of Mt. Pleasant about 8 p.m. Saturday after police were asked to make a welfare check. Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Jim Wilberg said Sunday the couple died from gunshot wounds, possibly inflicted Thursday night or Friday morning.
We're looking for the suspect vehicle again today. We're working the highways and interstates because those are the major routes between cities in Nevada.
The Fullwoods appeared to be victims of a "random robbery," he said.
The welfare check was precipitated by a man and woman using one of the Fullwoods' credit cards to make a purchase in West Wendover. They are believed to be connected to the Fullwoods' slaying. They remain at large, possibly in Nevada, where the search resumed Monday.
The Fullwood's friends in West Jordan — where they lived until 2004 — remembered the couple Monday as loving yet outspoken.
"They spoke their minds," said former neighbor LeMar Selman. "They're like mom and dad giving you counsel. And you better heed it because they knew what they were talking about."
Selman said the Fullwoods became fixtures in the community, and nearly all the men and boys in the neighborhood patronized Woody Fullwood's barbershop, City Hair, in Sandy. Ann Fullwood was a special education teacher at Hillcrest High School.
"You don't know why it happens," Selman said. "These people were just wonderful and it just breaks our hearts."
Ann Fullwood's former coworker of 16 years, JoAnn Plant, said Ann had a way of giving children and adults alike the confidence they needed to be successful. People went to them when they needed heartening.
"She had a softer side and she could be emotional but you went to her for support. She was very strong," said Plant, who still teaches special education at Hillcrest. "She had a tough exterior and she gave confidence to anybody who came to ask her for help."
Plant said she talked to Ann Fullwood in December, and will have a hard time living without her friend.
"She was protective of me, I was protective of her," Plant said. "We knew each other's personal lives as well as professional lives."
She said Ann and Woody Fullwood dedicated their lives to their children and grandchildren, and loved each other dearly.
"They were happy with who they were," she said. "They had a good life, a happy life, and they had both worked hard and deserved it."
The man and woman police believe are connected to the Fullwoods' deaths were last seen outside of Wells, Nev. after eluding police during a high-speed chase for some 50 miles.
Federal, state and local agencies are involved in the case, Nevada authorities said.
Trooper Jimmy Stewart of the Nevada Highway Patrol said Monday that the search had included search planes deployed by highway troopers and the Elko County Sheriff's Office.
"We're looking for the suspect vehicle again today. We're working the highways and interstates because those are the major routes between cities in Nevada," he said.
However, the couple was last seen heading into the mountains outside of Wells, traveling on dirt roads.
"The weather's been so nice that our dirt roads in mountains are not snowed in, muddy or anything like that," Stewart said, explaining that the conditions could aid the man and woman's travel.
The pair, described only as Caucasian, were last seen traveling in a gray Volkswagen Jetta with a Colorado license plate, 725WHX. Anyone who spots the vehicle is urged to call local police, 911 or *NHP (*647) to reach the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The man and woman are also being investigated for the shooting of 35-year-old West Wendover woman shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday. Police said a couple forced the woman into her car at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Wendover casino. Witnesses said a woman got into the car with the victim while her male accomplice followed in another vehicle.
Police said the victim eventually overpowered the woman and forced her out of the car at a secluded intersection. As the victim fled, she was shot in the back of her head. However, she was able to drive to the West Wendover police station for help. The 35-year-old woman remained in a Salt Lake hospital.
The couple took off in the original stolen car, leading police on a chase on I-80 at speeds exceeding 100 mph. Nevada troopers laid out spikes at one point, but the fleeing vehicle was able to avoid them and the couple escaped. Officers believe the couple stole the Jetta they were last seen traveling in from a hotel parking lot in Wells, Nev.
The man and woman are also thought to be connected to a Thursday car theft in Moroni, about five miles west of Mt. Pleasant.
A convenience store surveillance video of the gunman released by the West Wendover police showed a slender, young to middle-aged man wearing dark clothing and a white cap.