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(Loogootee, Indiana) Loogootee resident, 59-year-old Larry R. Padgett Jr., was arrested on March 1st for charges related to a 1989 Georgia Homicide.

Deer hunters located a deceased body and contacted the Sheriff’s Department in Monroe County, Georgia on November 21st, 1989. An autopsy of 23-year-old, Mary Louicile Willfong, determined the victim had been sexually assaulted and her cause of death to be strangulation. Investigators collected DNA samples from suspects matching the description in reports that Willfong had entered a tractor-trailer with a white man. The case went cold when no matches were found.

Investigator Marc Mansfield was tasked with reopening the case on March 11th, 2019. He re-submitted the original evidence to a crime lab with new technology for a Genealogy trace to be performed on DNA taken from the victim. Upon receiving the results, Investigator Mansfield requested assistance from Special Agent Tim Burke with the FBI. Their combined efforts yielded Padgett as a suspect and they were able to identify his current employer.

The Washington Police Department was contacted by the investigation team in August of 2022 regarding the 1989 cold case homicide. They informed WPD of new developments indicating the Indiana resident’s involvement. The local agency agreed to assist in the investigation and directed the case to their Detective Division. Investigators from both states worked to obtain additional DNA testing for comparison to evidence found on Mary Willfong’s body. Larry Padgett Jr. was a match.

As a result, 59-year-old Larry R Padgett Jr. of Loogootee was arrested without incident on a Monroe County Georgia Warrant for Murder.  For additional information contact Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman; bfreeman@monroecosheriffga.us

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