Kaitlin McKinley Becker

Vermont Murder Investigation Expands to Cape Cod Where Police Say Suspect Could Be Hiding

Police in Vermont say it’s possible that murder suspect Leroy Headley fled to the Cape, where he has family and other connections

Police in South Burlington, Vermont issued a plea for information to people on Cape Cod Monday, saying it’s possible a murder suspect could be hiding there.

“Our search is broad,” Chief Trevor Whipple of the South Burlington Police Department said, describing the search for Leroy Headley, 36.

Headley is the only suspect in the shooting death last week of his girlfriend, 33-year-old Anako “Anette” Lumumba, a mother and nurse.

Investigators believe Headley, who has faced previous criminal charges of violence and sexual abuse, killed Lumumba in a home on Southview Drive, then sped off in a blue Nissan Pathfinder with Vermont plates HBR 281.

South Burlington Police Department

An arrest warrant has been issued for Headley, who stopped at an ATM to withdraw $5,000 before vanishing, police said.

Whipple said Headley might have headed for Massachusetts, where he has a lot of family on Cape Cod.

“We do not have any reason to believe that they’re cooperating with him or that they’re hiding him, but we do have reason to believe that when people are in crisis, they retreat to family; they retreat to known areas,” Whipple explained.

Headley is considered armed and dangerous, so police urged anyone who may see him to simply call 911 instead of approaching him.

Anyone with non-emergency information that could still assist police can call the South Burlington Police Tip Line at 802-598-3528.

During a media briefing, the police chief also addressed the murder suspect directly.

“And if Mr. Headley is watching this, it’s a matter of time,” Chief Whipple said. “And I think it’s almost never that someone goes unfound. We will find you eventually.”

“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Kelly Dougherty, the executive director of Steps to End Domestic Violence, said of Lumumba's death.

Steps to End Domestic Violence is a group in Chittenden County helping turn the tide on unhealthy relationships, whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, or economic harm.

Dougherty said many of Vermont’s homicides are linked to domestic violence, but services are available—including emotional support, safety planning, and crisis intervention.

“With continued work of organizations like Steps to End Domestic Violence, we can work to ensure that violence is just not acceptable, and that people are not only held accountable but also get the help that they need,” Dougherty said.

Steps to End Domestic Violence operates a 24/7 domestic violence hotline for people in Chittenden County, at 802-658-1996.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence also operates a hotline for people anywhere. That number is 1-800-799-7233.

Police are also asking people on the Cape and across New England to keep an eye out for Headley’s 2017 blue Pathfinder, especially if the vehicle appears parked in a location that seems like it was hidden or abandoned.

Even though they believe Headley could be on the Cape, Chief Whipple noted that he could be elsewhere, since there have been no confirmed sightings as of Monday afternoon.

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