Police are investigating the deaths of Missouri couple Alex Chute and Brianna Sproul, who were found dead early Saturday morning on the front porch of their home in Willard, northwest of Springfield. In a press conference on Monday, Willard Police Chief Tom McClain said investigators do not believe the deaths to be a murder-suicide and they believe the couple was “targeted” by a suspect who remains at large, according to KY3.
McClain said that Chute, 28, and Sproul, 30, both died of gunshot wounds but said he doesn’t believe there is a threat to the public: “These folks in Willard were targeted,” he explained during a press conference reported by KY3. He added that the shooting was not random and that he believes the investigation is on the right track. “While I am not willing to talk about particular suspects or motives or things of that nature, we are, as I said earlier, confident that we are on the right track,” McClain said.
A GoFundMe was set up by Chute’s family to help cover his funeral expenses.
McClain Said Investigators Are ‘Hopeful’ That They Will Know More Soon But Did Not Provide Any Additional Information
During his press conference, McClain said he is hopeful that the double homicide will be solved soon, and while the Willard Police Department hasn’t had many cases like these, he has overseen a few major cases as the police chief. “In every instance, we’ve been able to resolve that with a closure including an arrest and a conviction,” he said. “And so I am hopeful and confident that this case will be no different.”
He said investigators are still gathering information and urged members of the public with information about Sproul and Chute’s deaths to contact the Willard Police Department at 417-742-5341.
Heavy reached out to the Willard Police Department for an update but did not immediately hear back.
Chute Was a Military Veteran Who Was in a Custody Dispute With His Ex-Wife at the Time of His Death & Had Been Dating Sproul for a Few Years
Chute’s Facebook indicated that he and Sproul had been in a relationship since December 25, 2017. KY3 reported that prior to his relationship with Sproul, Chute had been married to another woman and filed for divorce two years ago. The outlet also reported that the two had been involved in a custody dispute over the past two years and Chute’s ex-wife filed for a family access order sub-case a month before Chute’s death.
In a Facebook post written by one of Chute’s family members, the 28-year-old was described as “a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a father, a military veteran and a good man.” The post added: “He and his girlfriend, Brianna Sproul’s lives were ended suddenly on Saturday November 14th in Willard, Missouri. May God bless those investigating their demise with the power of discernment and may they quickly determine what transpired.”
In an interview with Springfield News-Leader, Chute’s mother Lisa Pini said he’d served in the Missouri National Guard and will be buried with full honors. She described Chute as a loving father whose 4-year-old daughter was the center of his world: “He absolutely loved being a father. His daughter was just his everything. He was very good with her. He loved to play with her.”
The couple shared a young kitten named Lawrence and Sproul posted on Facebook two weeks ago asking for help finding him after he’d gone missing from their home. Later that night, she added that he’d come back to the house: “He has finally come home covered in everything, not sure where he got lost at but it smells awful. Thanks for the shares everyone!”