Mary Ann Higginbotham

Mary Ann Higginbotham was a 22-year old girl who worked at Laughner’s Diner in Plainfield, Indiana. She lived with her boyfriend of two years, Timothy Lee Willoughby. Timothy had been known to jump around jobs for a while, but at this time had did not have a known job.

On the 6th of June, 1978, Mary Ann was seen alive for the last time.

Almost a year later, on the 4th of June 1979, Mary Ann’s remains were found welded inside of a 55-gallon barrel. She had been shot in the head with a small calibre weapon, execution-style, and was still fully clothed.

Mary Ann Higginbotham

Police immediately turned their attention to her boyfriend, Timothy. They believed that the pair had an argument, and Timothy killed Mary, before disposing of the body and running from the area. While this may seem like a plausible theory, Timothy had not been seen since the 6th of June 1978 – the same day Mary was last seen.

Investigators came to the conclusion that Timothy killed Mary Ann. A reason they came to this theory is that Timothy had a bad criminal record, and had been serving a 10-weekend sentence for an auto theft charge. He last checked into prison for a weekend on the 8th May 1978, just a month before he and Mary Ann vanished. Timothy was also wanted for various traffic violations and other auto-related charges in Hendrick’s County.

Timothy was the main suspect in the case up until 1982. That is when a police informant shared some new information with the police.

The informant said that Ronald C. Tomasik and James L.Kellam were involved in Mary and Timothy’s disappearance and Mary’s murder. She said that Ronald and James committed the murder so that Timothy wouldn’t expose their car theft ring to the police.

She told police that Ronald and James showed up at Mary and Timothy’s home on the 6th June 1978, and were invited inside by Mary as she knew they were friends of Timothy’s. The men then small-talked with Mary, before hitting her and then shooting her whilst she begged for her life. Ronald and James then waited for Timothy to show up at his house.

Once Timothy had seen Mary Ann’s body, the two men and Timothy got into a truck together before Ronald and James shot Timothy just two miles from his home. The pair then placed Mary and Timothy’s bodies in separate barrels, before wielding them shut and disposing of the barrels.

The informant brought police Mary’s rings as a way to verify her story and said that she had been forced to wash the blood off the men’s clothing.

Police arrested Ronald and James based on the women’s statement, but sadly DNA testing proved no link between the men and any of the items provided by the state for testing. The prosecutor was forced to release the men based on their constitutional rights and the fact that there was not sufficient evidence to charge them with the murder.

As of 2021, Timothy’s body has never been found, and Mary Ann’s case still remains open. Hopefully one day she will get the justice she deserves.


Unsolved, Murder, USA, True Crime, Mystery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: