RUMNEY, N.H. – The sister of a man who was killed and buried in a shallow grave with his wife in Texas says the recent arrests in the case is just the first step to justice.
James Butler’s sister, Deborah Van Loon, says she’s relieved they arrested the suspect in the case, but she’s still feeling disgust and anger over what happened.
“I just miss them a lot, and we all miss them so very much,” said Van Loon. “[They were] kind, gentle, family-oriented, adventurous – obviously adventurous; it’s what they wanted to do.”
Van Loon had always been close with her brother and when he fell in love with Michelle Butler nearly 10 years ago, she too became family.
After leaving their Rumney, New Hampshire home in 2018, the Butlers had been living their dream of traveling the county in their Chevrolet 2500 pickup and a Cedar Creek RV, until last month when the family lost contact with them on Oct. 15.
Their bodies were found in a shallow grave on a beach in Padre Island in Texas. The official cause of death was ruled as a homicide.
Following the discovery of the bodies, Texas officials released a picture of a couple they say was driving around in the Butlers’ truck and RV across the Mexican border.
The image, taken from a surveillance camera at the border crossing, and tips from the public helped investigators identify the suspects as Adam Curtis Williams and Amanda Noverr. The pair made it more than 1,200 miles before being taken into custody on Wednesday.
It is not clear why Williams and Noverr were in Texas at the time of the Butlers’ disappearance. It is also unclear how or where Williams and Noverr might have encountered the Butlers.
On Wednesday, police had taken in Williams Noverr into custody in connection with the double homicide. So far, only Williams has been charged with felony theft.
No warrants have been issued for Noverr’s arrest, though she remains a person of interest in the case.
“I hope to find out what they, why they did what they did, and, if it was them, I want them to pay for what they did,” said Van Loon.
Federal court records show that Williams has a long criminal history, including a 2010 conviction on drug trafficking and weapons charges for which he was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Bureau of Prisons records show he was released, under supervision, in December.
He allegedly violated his supervised release multiple times, the records show. He was charged in September with object rape, sodomy and forced sexual abuse in an alleged incident that took place in April.
He was accused in May of possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia and, in August, he was accused of domestic violence, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.
At a July probation revocation hearing, a judge ruled that Williams could remain free under supervised release but tacked on additional restrictions to his release. The rape, sexual assault and other violent crimes of which he is accused were not applicable at the time of the hearing.
The Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah, reported that a warrant for Williams’ arrest was issued in Utah on Oct. 8 after he failed to appear for a court hearing on the charges from August. He was due in court Monday in connection with the April allegations.
Another warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear in court Monday, according to the newspaper.
“Some people, you wish you could reach, try to figure out why they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, try to fix them, but some people you can’t fix,” said Van Loon.
Van Loon says the developments in the case will bring some relief for the family, but healing will not be an easy process.
“It’s going to be such a big, big hole in our hearts for a long, long, long time, maybe forever,” said Van Loon.
William was booked on $1 million bail.
At last check, Noverr was in Mexico with her 3-year-old child, awaiting deportation. Police say the pair could soon face additional charges.
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