Man charged with murdering six-year-old who had Down syndrome

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CALLAWAY COUNTY, Mo. – A man has been charged with first-degree murder after police say he shot and killed a six-year-old boy late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, Aug. 28. The killing happened in rural Callaway County, which is more than two hours east of Kansas City, but the suspect was arrested in Sedalia.

Scottie Willet, 27, now faces a first-degree murder charge for allegedly shooting the little boy with Down syndrome. Those close to Willet say they are stunned.

Angela Higgins says one of the first things that drew her to her boyfriend Willet was his kind spirit.

“It's not the person I know. The one I knew was really gentle with kids. He lived with me for a month-and-a-half with my little four-year-old at the time. And treated her like a queen,” Higgins said.

But she says the man who showed up at her doorstep this morning was different.

“He said he is in trouble and didn't know what to do. I told him the cops are going to end up coming here looking for him if it's something really bad,” Higgins said.

Sure enough they did, handcuffing Willet in her driveway. All the while, Higgins said she had no idea what he had done.

“He straight up told the cops that he had a loaded gun in the passenger seat,” Higgins said.

Then she started to hear what police say her boyfriend was accused of doing, sending her into a panic. Police say Willet was babysitting a six-year-old boy with Down syndrome and shot him multiple times, killing him. Willet had been staying with the family.

His stepfather told us Willet seemingly had a close relationship with the boy.

“He was a sweetheart. Scottie was good to him. They loved each other,” he said.

Police say the six-year-old's mom was at work when the shooting happened. They say she came home to find his body hidden in Willet's room. Now the man Higgins thought she knew sits in jail, charged with first-degree murder.

“I don’t really want to believe it,” she said.

According to online court records, Willet has prior convictions, mostly for theft, which date back to 2008. He’s now being held on a $1 million bond.