The day of his father’s death is one that plays over and over in Matt Billings’ head.
Almost a year since his father, Larry Billings, was found dead in his home Oct. 29, authorities are still searching for his suspected murderer, and his family is still left with unanswered questions.
"I just want the person that did it to be caught, eventually," Billings said. "However, if justice isn’t served here, it will be at a higher matter. Judgement day is coming."
It’s that mindset that keeps him going, Billings said.
Autopsy results showed Larry Billings, the 60-year-old owner of the Conway Roller Rink, died from a gunshot wound to the back of his head.
In the days following Billings’ murder, authorities said leads had been developed in the case, and hope was high among family and friends that resolution was coming.
Weeks after the murder, family members announced a $15,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons, responsible. That reward still stands, family members said.
While at the family’s Nov. 13 announcement, authorities said advancements were being made in the case every day, and they were hopeful the addition of reward money would move things along faster.
The same day as the press conference, authorities located Billings’ truck, which was discovered missing the day of his murder, in a west Little Rock parking lot. The information was not released until almost a month later. It proved to be one of the last major developments in the case that has been announced to the public.
As days turned into weeks, weeks into months, no charges were filed and no closure was provided for a grieving family.
Ali Billings Page, one of Billings’ six surviving children, said its frustrating when thinking back on the murder and subsequent investigation as it nears the one-year anniversary of her father’s death.
"It feels like whoever did it is getting away with it," she said.
Matt Billings said the fast-approaching year-anniversary does give him doubt in future resolution of the case.
"After a year, cases tend to go cold," he said. "That’s a scared thought I have."
Even through the uneasy feelings, Billings said he will remain hopeful that resolution is coming.
"If you let it get you down, the devil wins," he said.
Chief Deputy Matt Rice maintained the sheriff’s office investigation into Billings’ murder is always ongoing.
"We haven’t shut it down, and never will," Rice said.
"We never put it down," he said. "It’s always in the front of everybody’s mind."
Rice declined to comment on information concerning the case.
"We have some ideas, but they don’t come into play until we can send off for phone records, and things like that," he said. "That kind of stuff takes time to get and sometimes months."
Billings said he believes investigators are doing as much as they can with the little information they had to begin with.
While the investigation continues, Billings said he wants his dad to be remembered for the happy, outgoing man that he was.
Larry Billings was most known for being the owner of the Conway Roller Rink, but his son said he was also a retired school teacher.
"He taught and retired from Fuller Junior High School (in Pulaski County)," Billings said. "He finished teaching history, but he also taught English. He also owned a few trailer parks. He was a hard-working man."
Billings said his dad was someone that always seemed to know someone everywhere he went.
"He was always friendly," he said. "There was no reason for anybody to do this to him. He never hurt anybody."
Billings’ family will hold a candlelight vigil from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Fifth Avenue Park, in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of Larry Billings’ death.
All are welcome to attend the vigil, family members said.
(CORRECTION: A quote in a previous version of this article was incorrectly attributed to Kristen Racanelli, one of Larry Billings' six children. The quote has since been correctly attributed to Ali Billings Page, another of Billings' children.)
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories, log on to thecabin.net.)