Murdered couple's neighbors get police reassurance

12:26 AM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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  • David and Vivian Bouwman
  • Kentwood police want to question Javonte Higgins about the murders of David and Vivian Bouwman.

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- After meeting with police, residents who live near a couple murdered in Kentwood say they feel more comfortable, but won't feel safe until the killer is captured.

"I will feel a lot more safe when this person is caught," says neighbor Michele Keller.

David Bouwman, 81, and his wife Vivian, 81, were discovered shot to death in their Princeton Estates home January 5.

Several hundred nearby homeowners joined leaders from the Kentwood Police Department Monday night to discuss security in their subdivision.  The meeting was scheduled to help residents feel safer.

"A lot of the neighbors were very concerned about some of the incidents that had gone on in the neighborhood, and one of them suggested we have a meeting," explained Princeton Estates Homeowners Association president George Guyott.

"I told them, 'I'll do you one better and bring the police department in and let them talk to you'," added Kentwood Mayor Richard Clanton.

Police officers offered residents some basic home safety information, and reassuring comments.

"I think it was very helpful to know the role neighbors play and the role police play and how we can work together," said Princeton Estates resident Loran Filson.

Police at the meeting did not accept any questions about their investigation into the Bouwman murders.

"People tried to ask questions, but they aren't giving any information about that at all," says Keller.

"That is an off-limits topic," adds Guyott. 

Detectives identify Javonte Higgins, 22, as a suspect in the murder of the Bouwmans.  He grew up in Princeton Estates and has a history of breaking into neighbors' homes.  Higgins is still not in custody.

"They know who they are looking for now," says Filson. "If they knew where we would have him."

Although the year started with the murder of the Bouwmans, police presented data to the group that shows Princeton Estates has fewer reported crimes than surrounding communities and is one of Kentwood's safest communities.

"They actually show the incidents in Princeton Estates are fewer," says Guyott.

"Princeton Estates is a strong community," agrees Mayor Clanton. "They've always been that way."

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