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Manhunt Continues for Wellston Murder Suspect

26-Oct-2016

A man accused of child sexual abuse involving a 15-year-old girl has become a wanted murder suspect and the subject of Oklahoma's first "Blue Alert."

On Sunday evening, Wellston police responded to a "shots fired" call, where they found several people with guns displayed in the bed a pickup. Police say that as they first approached the group, everything was going smoothly. However, once they asked for IDs, a man began shooting at them. What followed was a "full-out gunfight," according to Wellston Police Chief Tim Estes, who said the man who fired at officers took cover behind bystanders, including women, in order to avoid being shot by police. 

The suspect, identified as Michael Dale Vance Jr., 38, of Chandler, shot two Wellston police officers before stealing a police department pickup truck and speeding away. Vance was shot during the gunfight. The two injured officers are expected to recover.

After the suspect fled the scene in the police pickup, he drove to a local trailer park, where he carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint from a man and his pregnant wife. He allegedly shot at a trailer before leaving, and shrapnel from the trailer injured a woman inside. The carjacking victims were uninjured.

After stealing the car, Vance then reportedly drove to Luther, where he is accused of savagely murdering two relatives, identified as Ronald Everett Wilkson, 55, and his wife, Valerie Kay Wilkson, 54. Most reports say the Wilkson's are the aunt and uncle of the suspect, but relatives say that Vance is the son of a cousin of Valerie Wilkson.

After the murders, the suspect stole the Wilkson's vehicle and fled again. The latest sighting of Vance took place early Monday morning at a truck stop along I-40 in Sayre. At the truck stop, the suspect shot a man in the leg in trying to steal his motor home, but he was unable to gain access to the RV and drove off again in the Wilkson's vehicle. 

Investigators say that Vance has a history of making violent threats against people who upset him, and a sister tipped off police that Vance may have a hit list of people he wants to harm, including those he believes "set him up" by making child sex abuse claims against him. Law enforcement officers are currently protecting those people who may be named in the alleged hit list. Law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma and surrounding states are involved in the manhunt for Michael Vance.

Oklahoma's "Blue Alert" law is intended to create public awareness and to help apprehend suspects involved in police shootings. The "Blue Alert" system was not supposed to take effect until November 1, 2016, but because of the seriousness of the allegations against Vance and the belief that he is armed and dangerous, the state went ahead and issued the first Blue Alert roughly a week early.

Anyone with information about Vance and his whereabouts is urged not to approach the man, but to call 911 immediately.



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