Deere investigation continues; widow copes with loss

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

No new “releasable” evidence has surfaced in the investigationof the murder of convenience store owner John Deere, according tosheriff’s department officials.

The department is continuing to actively investigate the caseand gather leads and evidence, but has not obtained anything theyare willing to release for public knowledge at this time, saidInvestigator Lance Falvey.

Shirley Deere, the wife of the victim, said the sheriff’s officeis keeping her updated on the investigation and she had everyconfidence in them.

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“They just told me they are still getting leads in and arefollowing them up,” she said. “I have every bit of confidence inSheriff (Wiley) Calcote and Lance Falvey.”

John Deere, 55, was murdered Jan. 16 between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m.shortly after he arrived a the Airport Pik & Pak conveniencestore he owned on Old Highway 51. Deere’s body was found in thestore parking lot after the sheriff’s department received a 911call around 5 a.m.

The store owner had been shot three times.

Shirley said she is coping with the tragedy as best she can.

“I’m doing pretty good,” she said. “I stay busy. I get lonely,and some days are better than others, but that’s the way it isanytime you lose someone you love.”

Deere was murdered the day before his birthday and only ninedays before the couple’s 13th anniversary.

The fate of the Airport Pik & Pak convenience store run bythe Deeres remains an open question.

The couple enjoyed many happy moments in the store, but thosememories are now tainted by the murder, Shirley said. She addedthat she didn’t want to have the responsibility of running thestore alone.

“My husband and I spent a lot of time together there and weenjoyed it and the people, but it’s more than I can handle,” shesaid. “I have it up for sale right now.”

The last piece of evidence released by the sheriff’s departmenttwo days after murder was the recovery of a half-burned cash boxfrom the store.

The store’s cash box was recovered on Jan. 18 near the DixieSprings exit off Interstate 55 North. It had been burned and itappeared checks from the box had been used to start the fire.

The cash box had been sent to the crime lab for fingerprintingafter its recovery, but Falvey declined to comment on thoseresults.

“I would like to thank everyone for their prayers, concern andtheir friendship over the last eight and one half years,” Shirleysaid. “I appreciate everything they’ve done for me since thishappened and ask for their continued prayers for the sheriff andLance Falvey while they investigate this.”

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to contactCrime Stoppers at 823-0150 or the sheriff’s department at833-5231.