Unsolved: Waiting for Justice

For this month’s installment of our Unsolved series, we’re taking a look at a case deputies are confident they’ve solved, but is stuck in the court system, with a key witness not cooperating.

The trial against the man accused of shooting and killing William ‘Billy’ Buchanan in Free Soil back in April of 2019, was set to move forward, until a stunning turn.

April 16, 2019 was a day that changed William and Denita Buchanan’s lives forever.

The first sign something wasn’t right coming when a deputy flagged William down.

“He hesitated and he said I’m sorry but your son is deceased, and I just kept yelling you’re wrong. You’re wrong, that’s not true, we just saw him last night, and he was coming home today,” recalled Denita.

That deputy telling them their son Billy was killed in an early morning shooting near Free Soil in Mason County.

“He died alone, we couldn’t even see him, we couldn’t say goodbye, we didn’t get to do anything,” said Denita.

Mason County deputies quickly made an arrest after the shooting, charging Corey Beekman with killing Buchanan and injuring another woman inside the home.

“Our son got shot for no reason, for helping someone thing and he got shot. He tried to do a good deed and this is where it got him,” said Denita.

The woman who was also inside the home would become a key witness for the prosecution and the case was set to head to trial — until that woman stopped cooperating leading to the charges against Beekman being dropped.

“It just eats away at you, the waiting, it shatters your heart, more than its already been shattered, it’s like you’ve come so far, to think something is going to happen and in a split second it’s over and you’re at the beginning again. We’ve been fighting this for two and a half years and we’ve gotten nowhere,” said Denita.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole and his deputies have been working to track down that woman and get her to court to testify, but that hasn’t been easy.

“We sent detectives to the county where we believe she’s residing to find here and we spoke with family down there, and we’ve run into some pushback from folks and to some extent that is to be expected I guess,” said Cole.

The charges in the case could eventually be refiled, but until prosecutors can get that key witness to cooperate, the case is stuck.

“There is a degree of frustration in it but at the end of the day, our detectives are going to continue to plug along, and as the sheriff I’m going to continue to plug along and support the victim in this matter and I’ll support the prosecution,” said Cole.

Leaving Billy’s family, hoping, waiting and praying.

“We need some type of closure, it’s never going to be closed, but some type of closure. We lost an amazing young man, his life was cut short out of kindness and trying to help somebody and the system needs to help our family get justice and not sweep him under the rug,” said Denita.

We reached out to the Mason County Prosecutor for comment on the status of the case but did not hear back.

    You can listen to extended interviews with Sheriff Cole and Billy’s family in our unsolved podcast.