The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Was anyone else a suspect in Anastasia's murder?
Officially, until Kelly Moffett came forward as an eyewitness to the murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen and named Byron Case as her killer, no one had yet been named a suspect, though Justin Bruton was considered a person of interest between the discovery of Anastasia's body and the discovery of his own.1Top of page
Byron Case was officially named a suspect only when a warrant for his arrest was issued on June 11, 2001.2 However, he was the only person ever seriously questioned as Anastasia's possible killer.
On the first few days after the murder, it could be said that anyone could have been considered a suspect. Case and some of his supporters have occasionally tried to cast suspicion on to Anastasia's father, Robert WitbolsFeugen, having accused him outright on at least one occasion. On Case's supporters' website, they still maintain copies of insurance policies that Anastasia's father took out just before her death, insinuating that he did so with the intention of killing her.
In doing this, they willfully ignore the obvious fact that WitbolsFeugen took the policies out on his entire family, and that it was the result of a sales solicitation. The only reason that Case obtained copies of the policies is that they were included in a complaint filed by Robert WitbolsFeugen against the detecive working on the murder investigation because he had refused to respond to standard insurance company questions, in apparent retaliation to WitbolsFeugen's earlier complaints. In reality, the insurance policies had nothing to do with the investigation itself.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department described Justin Bruton as a "person of interest" before his body was discovered two days after Anastasia's, and JCSD Captain Tom Phillips publicly stated that he considered the case a "murder-suicide",3 though that represented only a theory without proof. In fact, Phillips had not read any of the report at the time he made that statement, and was merely making personal speculation without any direct information. It was something they said for public consumption, and was never directly stated by the investigating detective himself.
In truth, with nothing to go on but the alibi provided by Byron Case and Kelly Moffett, JCSD could do little but consider Justin Bruton a suspect. They were helped in that matter by Case and Moffett themselves,4 who made statements about Justin for the express purpose of casting suspicion upon him.
Even though JCSD would not admit so to Case himself, it is clear that they suspected him, and that they never gave credence to the "random killer" theory suggested by Case's alibi.