For most of his life, William, a former Marine, was a true pillar of his community. In recent years, he'd lost his job and seemed to be in a downward spiral. Though he would often borrow money from his sons, their relationship remained close and they would see each other often. "He was one of us, basically," Clay says.
Then on August 19, 2004, Jared, a Peoria, Illinois, police officer, read a story in the paper about a series of bank robberies in another part of the state. "The description just oddly matched my father to a tee," Jared says. "The description of the vehicle—the getaway car—was the same vehicle my father drove. And he spends time over in that area."
In addition, Jared says, the description in the report described the suspect as being 5'8" to 5'10" and around 200 pounds. "My father and I are about the same size. That almost describes me, only [I am] younger," he says.
As Jared continued reading, he noticed that the newspaper story referenced a website set up by local police authorities that contained surveillance photos of one of the robberies. "Just to clear up my own mind, [I thought] I'd go look and make sure that it wasn't him," Jared says. "But it was."