By LISA SCAGLIOTTI
The South Burlington Police Department is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the main suspect in a two-month-old homicide case.
At a press briefing Monday, Police Chief Trevor Whipple said the department has been unable to find the main suspect in the murder of Anako “Annette” Lumumba, 33, who was found dead of a gunshot wound at her South Burlington home May 3.
Leroy Headley, Lumumba’s partner, is the main suspect. Police have been unable to track him down, so Whipple said that, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service, South Burlington police are offering the reward for information.
Anyone providing information is not required to be involved further in the investigation, police said. The reward would be paid after an arrest was made.
Headley, 36, of South Burlington, was Lumumba’s longtime domestic partner and father of their two children. There are warrants for his arrest on charges of second-degree murder and sexual assault on a minor, the latter charge stemming from a case before Lumumba’s death.
Police don’t know where Headley is. In a statement Monday, investigators said they suspect to Headley’s disappearance “may have been planned well in advance, and that some person or persons may be helping him remain hidden from law enforcement. It is also possible Headley may be in another community somewhere living under an assumed name.”
Police learned of Lumumba’s murder in an unusual way: Police in Falmouth, Mass., called South Burlington police, and said a relative of Headley’s came into their office, reporting that Headley had called him and claimed he had shot his girlfriend.
There was a history of domestic abuse between Lumumba and Headley. Last year, Lumumba filed complaints with police, saying Headley had guns and was threatening to kill her.
Headley has lived in Vermont most recently but had also lived in Jamaica, and had visited Brooklyn and Queens regularly. On May 18, Headley’s Nissan Pathfinder was found abandoned in Albany, N.Y.
Police emphasized that people should be careful if they encounter the suspect.
“Headley should still be considered armed and dangerous,” investigators said. “Headley may pose further threat to whatever community he currently resides in.”
Det. Chris Bataille said investigators met last week with Lumumba’s family members to update them on the case and asked them what they might say to Headley if they had the chance.
Police said Lumumba’s relatives worry that Headley may return to harm them. “They have nightmares and difficulty sleeping, and while they know no one can bring back Annette, they seek some sort of closure to the horror of all of this,” detectives said in their statement.
An arrest would put the family at ease, police said, “but each day he is at large brings them fresh worry and fear.”
Anyone with information may contact South Burlington police at 802-846-4111, option zero.