Search for Billy Varner over in Antioch; Man wanted for questioning in deaths of wife, mother arrested in North Dakota

November 3, 2013 (ANTIOCH, Ill.)

Billy Varner was caught in Williston, North Dakota, about 1,000 miles from Antioch, Illinois, and about 80 miles south of the Canadian border. So, far, Varner only faces charges in a church robbery and the stolen van.

Surveillance pictures capture Varner in Antioch the same day two women, who reportedly were his mother and wife, were found dead in their Antioch apartment.

The 54-year-old fled the area until he was caught in North Dakota Saturday, where police say Varner robbed a Catholic church using a shotgun during a Mass.

"The subject fled the scene followed by several church members. Deputies intercepted the suspect's vehicle and conducted a felony traffic, taking Billy Varner into custody," said Antioch Police Chive Craig Somerville.

Varner was caught in the same conversion van police say he stole from a family member the day 82-year-old Dorthy Varner and 61-year-old Peggy Henderson were found during a well-being check.

At this point, police are not saying how the women died.

Those who live in their apartment complex are happy the manhunt for Varner is over.

"A lot of us feel relieved, but also thought it was probably an isolated incident, not really too concerned he was coming after any other of the residents, but it's great that he's caught," said neighbor Kyle Kinsman.

While the trail had grown cold, the Antioch police chief was confident Varner would eventually turn up, as long as he was still driving the stolen van.

"It's a unique vehicle, it's a large vehicle with large windows. We had a license plate.We had no indication that he had abandoned the vehicle. It hadn't turned up, and I felt pretty confident before the weekend was over that he would be located," Somerville said.

Members of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force were on their way to North Dakota Sunday. Chief Somerville said that he had no more information concerning any further charges or extradition.

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