MONROE COUNTY, GA - The Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Georgia is reporting that on Tuesday, November 21st, 1989, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the area of Johnstonville Road near I-75 in reference to a body being found by deer hunters.
The body was identified as 23-year-old Mary Louicile Willfong. An autopsy was performed, and it was determined that Willfong had been sexually assaulted and the cause of death was strangulation.
At the time Investigators received tips that Willfong had been spotted in Forest Park, Georgia at the Farmers Market getting into a tractor trailer with a white male. During the investigation several suspects were sought after, interviewed and DNA was taken from the suspects.
The DNA samples taken from the suspects did not match the DNA taken from the victim. The case was eventually closed and was unsolved.
On March 11th, 2019, Sheriff Freeman tasked Investigator Marc Mansfield with the re-opening of the unsolved murder of Mary Willfong. Investigator Mansfield took the original evidence and re-submitted it to the GBI crime-lab due to new technology.
Investigator Mansfield transported the original evidence to Miami, Florida to DNA International for a Genealogy trace to be completed on the DNA taken from the victim.
After receiving the DNA results, Investigator Mansfield reached out to Special Agent Tim Burke with FBI Atlanta for assistance, and they agreed to assist with the case.
Investigator Mansfield would identify a suspect who is a resident of Indiana. Through investigative means Investigator Mansfield was able to determine where the suspect was currently employed.
The FBI Evidence Recovery Team and Investigators with the Washington Police Department, IN were able to retrieve additional evidence from the suspect. DNA evidence was retrieved and transported to the GBI crime-lab for DNA testing.
This testing resulted in a match with the DNA taken from the body of Mary Willfong.
Arrest warrants were issued for the suspect identified as Larry Padgett, age 59 of Loogootee, Indiana.
On March 1st, 2023, Investigator Marc Mansfield and Sergeant Kemeyan Colvard drove to Washington, Indiana to arrest Larry Padgett.
While in Indiana, Investigators were able to obtain more evidence in the case linking Padgett to the murder of Mary Willfong.
Padgett will be held in Indiana until a waiver of extradition is signed.
Photos are from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Georgia.