Thurston County detectives now believe that a local man who went missing more than three years ago was killed.
Steven A. Billman, who would have recently turned 30, was last seen in the Rochester area in January 2014. Since his disappearance, detectives have found his truck, which had changed hands several times.
All leads point to one person of interest, according to a report by Detective Frank Frawley. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is asking people with information about Billman’s disappearance to come forward.
“All of the witnesses who know the person of interest are afraid of him,” Frawley wrote. “We believe witnesses we have contacted have not told the whole story. They fear retaliation from the person of interest.”
The person of interest hasn’t been arrested or charged, and he isn’t named in Frawley’s report.
Detectives believe Billman was living with the person of interest prior to his disappearance. Many people contacted during the investigation are connected to marijuana grow operations, and Billman had reportedly been maintaining a grow operation for the person of interest.
Last September, detectives located Billman’s truck, which went missing around the time Billman did. The most recent registered owner, in Pierce County, said he purchased the truck from a man named Steven, but not Steven Billman. The seller reportedly told investigators that the original owner of the truck had been “whacked,” and the truck had been dumped near Yelm.
The truck changed hands several times, and each person who had the vehicle has ties to the person of interest.
When detectives contacted the person of interest, he invoked his right to an attorney, according to Frawley’s report.
Detectives learned that prior to his disappearance, Billman went to California for two weeks. He returned a few weeks before his disappearance and lived on the person of interest’s property. A relative indicated that Billman and the person of interest had “bad dealings,” according to the report.
A witness reported that months after Billman’s disappearance, the person of interest ordered him to get rid of Billman’s truck.
Another witness reported that the person of interest told him last July that he had “done something that he was not going to be able to recover from,” according to the report. The witness believed the person of interest was talking about Billman, and recalled the person of interest painting his garage floor shortly after Billman’s disappearance.
“It is believed our person of interest is responsible for Steven’s disappearance,” Frawley wrote.
Anyone with information about what may have happened to Billman, his location, or the location of his remains is asked to call Frawley at 360-786-5599 or call 911.