Police ID South Burlington murder victim; search intensifies for suspect

By  | 
View Map

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A manhunt is underway for the South Burlington man accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend. Police have been looking for Leroy Headley, 36, since Thursday night after his girlfriend, Anako "Annette" Lumumba, 33, was found dead in her South Burlington home. Police call Headley armed and dangerous but say this was likely a targeted incident.

Saturday, police released photos of Headley taken from ATM surveillance cameras. They asked the public to take note of his outfit, in the hopes people recognize him.

Friday, police continued to comb that apartment looking for evidence. Investigators were at the home where the killing took place for most of the day.

Neighbors say the streets in this neighborhood are usually quiet and people keep mostly to themselves. But neighbors have seen police activity at this home in the past.

"People usually come down here usually only to go to their houses," Mark Trombley said.

Trombley lives just a street away from the home where the shooting took place. He says he has never seen Leroy Headley before and was surprised to see police activity last night.

"You know, you just don't imagine it could happen this close," Trombley said.

Investigators spent the majority of Friday looking for any piece of evidence to help them find Headley.

"We will work this just as hard as we can. We will follow every lead until we locate Mr. Headley," South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple said.

Whipple says a relative walked into a police station in Falmouth, Massachusetts, just after 6 p.m. Thursday, and said a family member of his-- Leroy Headley-- may have shot his girlfriend. Police don't know where Headley is but they say he may be driving a 2017 blue Nissan Pathfinder with Vermont plates HBR 281.

"Many times people who flee a crime quickly change vehicles, get a ride, use some other form of transportation. We are clearly exploring any or all possible avenue of where Mr. Headley could be and how he might be getting there," Whipple said.

Those efforts include help from the Vermont State Police and U.S Marshals. Schools in South Burlington kept students indoors Friday as a precautionary measure.

Although Headley is still on the run, Whipple wants residents to live their lives as normal but stay vigilant throughout the weekend and until Headley is caught.

"We don't have any particular concern about any one individual in the community," Whipple said.

Trombley and others in this neighborhood aren't too concerned and believe the police will keep them safe.

"My suspicion would be he's long gone, but I figured, when something happens, they don't stay close. I feel good here," Trombley said.

Police would not comment on a possible motive for the shooting. We do know that Headley has a criminal record, including domestic abuse charges.

Whipple says if you see Headley or the blue Nissan Pathfinder with Vermont plates HBR 281, don't approach him, just call 911.

A TUMULTUOUS RELATIONSHIP

We wanted to find out more about who Annette Lumumba and Leroy Headley were. Our Connor Cyrus spoke to a friend who says he knew them both.

Headley has been on police radar for a while. We dug up court paperwork documenting acts of aggression since 2003 against friends and partners. And WCAX News reported on him last year when he was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Now, he's suspected of killing his girlfriend. But according to a friend, that's only one side of Headley.

"He's not entirely this evil monster. This was a man who deeply cared for his kids. This was a man I trusted with my children," he said.

The friend wanted to remain anonymous at his attorney's advice, concerned that Headley might come after him.

He told us Headley made some mistakes but also helped him when he was in a bind.

"He would come to me and give me a couple hundred dollars and say, 'Hey, go get yourself a room, go get yourself some food, feed yourself, feed your girlfriend. And you get me when you can get me,'" the friend said.

He says Headley has six children, two from a previous relationship and four with the victim, Annette Lumumba. He described Lumumba as compassionate.

"She was always sweet, down to earth, she was always very polite with me. I know that she worked in the nursing field," he said.

He's known Headley for 13 years.

Reporter Connor Cyrus: Are you surprised by any of this?
Friend: Yes and no... I'm surprised he went to this extreme... and at the same time, no. On the record, I am willing to say he was very possessive and controlling of anyone he dated.

He described the relationship between Headley and Lumumba as tumultuous.

A gofundme site has been started to help Lumumba's family. Click here for more information.


Leroy Headley