Three years ago today, Ron and Kay Wilkson were spending a Sunday like they spent most Sundays … a little time with a grandchild, changing a tire for a family member, naps and visiting. It was sometime that evening, as they likely prepared for the week ahead, that the unthinkable happened and their lives were snatched away in an instant. Hopefully it was only an instant, because their murders were so gruesome, it adds to the horror that they might have suffered during the hours that passed before authorities, led by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, allowed anyone to get to them.
Don’t you remember? You remember where you were that night, and how our community was gripped in shock, disbelief and fear.
Related stories from The Luther Register archives:
Two Dead in Connection with Sunday Night Shooting
(From 2017) Losing the Wilksons, One year later.
That same Sunday Michael D. Vance, Jr., was shooting rounds at a property southwest of Wellston, possibly using an AK-47. He wasn’t supposed to possess firearms because of his legal troubles. There was so much gun fire that the police were alerted. What ensued was a gun battle with Wellston police officers – Vance shot two officers, and they shot him twice but those bullets didn’t stop him. He drove away in their police cruiser, shot another Luther resident while stealing another car and managed to go on FB Live thanking his family members for helping him. Somehow he slipped by authorities as he traveled from the trailer park on Highway 66 where he had shot his third victim to the Wilkson’s home near Covell and Triple X Road.
Vance killed Ron and Kay, and stole Kay’s car as he fled to Oklahoma City while law enforcement scrambled back in Luther. He was the subject of a manhunt that drew national attention and gripped our community in fear, forcing school children inside for recess and causing jitters at the sound of a firecracker or loud noise. It took a week, but he was shot dead by authorities in Western Oklahoma on October 30, 2016.
Three years later, the grief remains immeasurable for Ron and Kay’s children, grandchildren and many family members and friends. The couple was beloved by their family and their community. For years Kay served as a waitress at the cafe in town – she remembered your order, kept your coffee cup full and made you feel welcome. Ron was known for his immaculate yard, helping his neighbors and teasing his grandkids. Their deaths were horrific. Autopsy reports reveal that Kay was stabbed more than ten times with four stab wounds to her heart. She was found dead in her living room chair, and her husband, Ron, was shot twice in the chest and also suffered grisly stab wounds. His body was found on the sidewalk outside the house. Was he trying to rush to his wife after Vance showed up, while their family members were calling 911 worried they were in danger? The couple lay dying or dead for hours while law enforcement sent in robots before finally entering the scene.
Three years later, there are more questions than answers for the Wilkson’s daughter Evelyn. Her mom always told Evelyn she was her child that never took no for an answer and demanded justice where justice was due. Even though Evelyn suffers from anxiety, depression and PTSD from that night, she is working through it to keep seeking answers to her questions, and seeking justice for her parents. Why was the first shooting scene not secured? Why did her repeated calls to 911 not result in a check to her parent’s home? Why were the four Wilkson children treated rudely and callously that night? Why did law enforcement not believe them when they said their mom’s car was missing and Vance was likely gone? How did Vance make it to Oklahoma City that night unnoticed in her mom’s car while authorities said he could have still been at the house? Why did Lincoln County authorities feed the media a story about a possible motive that she says was not true? Why do investigators not return her calls? Why wasn’t there a review or an investigation of law enforcement’s response that night to avoid it happening to another family? She was told that Vance was dead and she should move on. She’s not moving on without answers.
The following is part one of her story, in her own words.
Answers For My Parents
By Evelyn Prince
My name is Evelyn. I am a stay-at-home mother of two teen boys. My parents, Ron and Kay Wilkson, were murdered October 23, 2016, by Michael Vance. Michael was a distant relative on my mom’s side of the family. Michael moved to Oklahoma from California. He came after his sister and mom move moved here.
Michael, on October 23, was at a house a town away from our hometown. My 12-year-old son, at the time, had stayed the night with my parents the night before. He had “cabin fever” from breaking his arm a couple of weeks before from wrestling his 14-year-old brother. Anyway, back to that weekend. My husband and I dropped our son off to go to the city to run some errands. After we dropped him off, my mom called and said Brandon wanted to stay the night with them. Not planning for him to stay, he didn’t take his pain medication with him. Living in the same town, ten minutes away, it wasn’t a big deal if he started hurting, I could come get him, so he stayed. My other son stayed with my husband’s parents because they were working on his motorcycle until we got home from running errands. The next day, Sunday, my mom called and said Brandon wanted to stay another night but he had gone with my dad to help my grandfather with a flat tire. Then they all three had coffee. By then, Brandon’s arm was hurting a lot. I told my mom I would be over in a bit if he was hurting too bad, I would just bring him home. I got dressed and was there in about an hour, this would be around 1 pm, that Sunday.
Love You Too Baby Girl, See You Next Time
I had a nasty habit, so I had to pick up cigarettes and a six-pack of Blue Moon for my husband. First, I got to my parent’s house and my mom was sitting on their front screened porch/smoking room because they had stopped smoking in the house. My dad was a clean freak. After his mom died of a brain aneurysm, he started having health issues of his own and had found out that cigarette smoke led to dust and allergens. He had a bad heart, numerous stints, kidney failure, insulin pump for his pancreas that had stopped producing natural insulin. My mom worked two jobs to support her and my dad as his health was so bad he couldn’t work. When I got there, my Dad was taking a nap which he had started doing due to his health and sleep apnea. So I sat on the porch and smoked a cigarette with my mom and gave Brandon one of his pain pills. Brandon had not been wearing his arm brace, and I laughed because my mom never made her grandbabies do anything they didn’t want to do.
I heard a voice which I fully believe now was God telling me to take Brandon home. I turned around to him and explained that Grandma had to work the next week so why doesn’t he come on home with me to let Grandma and Grandpa spend some time together. She was an interior decorator/secretary at Interceramic Tile and several evenings a week she cleaned the Redbud Power Plant close to their house. It was all to help make ends meet.
Brandon didn’t argue and my mom agreed so we continued talking for a few more minutes. I told her how I had to go because I was supposed to be getting my husband’s six-pack and cigarettes. She then got the idea to tease her son-in-law and had Brandon go get a beer out of the refrigerator, and had me light a cigarette and then took a picture and sent it to my husband. I ended up telling her, “okay, now I have to go, he is going to kill me.” I said those words as a joke. But I don’t joke like that anymore.
I poked my head in the door to tell Brandon, “let’s go.” My Dad had just woken up. If you knew my Dad, he was not very happy or nice when waking up because of his health. I looked at him in his eyes, and to this day, I get sick that I didn’t just go give him a hug but we were not an affectionate family. We loved each other but did not do “touchy feely.” I looked at him and said, “I love you Dad.”
He said, “love you too,” as he scrolled stations on the TV to see what was on. Mom’s phone had rung. She was talking to somebody, not sure who due to ongoing investigations, but I walked out and said, “love you Mom,” as I got into my Jeep. She told whoever it was she would call them back, stepped to the door as Brandon was coming out to the Jeep. He stopped and gave her a hug. She yelled, “love you too, Baby Girl. We will see you next time.” I waved when I backed away and drove to the store.
The call that changed everything
I started cooking dinner when I got home. That is when I got the call that changed my world, my family, my trust, my everything, especially with law enforcement. That day my heart broke not only for me, but for my children, my 23 nieces and nephews, future grandchildren, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, my entire family. That moment, everything forever changed.
The call was from my aunt who told me about a shootout in Wellston and that a distant cousin was the shooter and asked if he possibly knew where my mom and dad lived. She said she had been trying to call them, and didn’t get an answer, which was not uncommon for them. My mom didn’t answer but that was no big deal, she never answered her phone. I called my dad, no answer, so I sent a text to both of them with “911” which was code for our family for emergency. Still no response. I call again, still no response. Call again, still no answer. I stepped out to the front porch and really called 911 and told the dispatch the man involved in the Lincoln County shootout was a distant relative. We weren’t sure if he knew where my parents lived, so could you send someone to check on them?
They said they would send someone when someone was available. We hung up. I called back my aunt. She still had no luck reaching my parents. Hanging up with her, panic set in. I told my husband to send the kids to his parents and we had to go now. I grabbed my keys as my husband locked everything up. I got out to the Jeep and called my brother Shawn, to see if he had heard from them. He said, “No. Why?”
So I told him about the shooting in Wellston involved our cousin, Michael Vance. He said, “No, it was law enforcement. I am sitting on my tailgate drinking a beer with Josh. We are watching the helicopters now.” He lived off of County Line Road. I explained the shooting was, in fact, law enforcement AND Michael Vance. He then said he was going to check and I would have to call him back because his screen was broken and he couldn’t make calls but could receive them.
I touched base with my aunt again who told me she had called authorities twice asking for a well check. I called my brother back. I will never forget him saying, “Mom’s car is gone. But there is a white car with a blue top here in their driveway. It was the description of the car the news gave out.” He then told me he was going to town to get his pistol. By this time, we were already headed over to my parent’s house, first time I had ever gone 100 mph on Luther Road! We got to Peebly and Covell, just a mile away from their house. My brother briefed me when he was headed home he saw was a slew of Oklahoma County Officers in the parking lot of Jake’s gas station, so he pulled in and almost t-boned the officer who then drew his weapon. My brother told them to follow him. He knew where the car was. They did follow him and stopped him inside the road block. I was standing in front of my Jeep, calling my parents and brothers and sister, when I saw my brother pass by in the back of a cop car. I asked the officer at the road block on Peebly and Covell where they were taking my brother and why they didn’t let me go because that was also my parents. The officer told me it was protocol, my brother was being questioned and would be back in a moment. He never came back.
My sister and older brother showed up around the same time. My sister got stopped at the cemetery and told the officer who she was. She told them she was coming to me. They refused so I finally had my sister hand her phone to the officer who had her stopped. I handed mine to the officer I was standing with. He then waved a flashlight and let her through.
At that time, my oldest brother came speeding through. I was yelling at the other two officers, “that’s my brother. These are his parents,” as the officers raised their weapons. Finally, they calmed, lowered their firearms and said, “what is he stupid or something, have a death wish with all this chaos?” The entire time we were on and off the phone with my youngest brother who told us we had to get to the power plant where he was with the Command Center. Finally, we were told by the officer to go to Coffee Creek. Neighbors confirmed to this officer that was our parents. We were told to go this way to get to my brother. He said, “well, I was told nobody in.”
Your Protocol Just Got Two People Killed
We stood begging and crying and about that time my brother contacted my sister and said, “y’all need to get here now.” My sister, Cassie, said, “WE ARE TRYING. THEY WONT LET US IN.” This is when he told my sister that my parents were gone.
I heard my sister scream a scream I had never heard from her. I jumped out as she was coming around the back of my Jeep and we hit together in each other’s arms crying and screaming and her saying, “they are gone.” She said our brother said our father was lying in his front yard. Mom was found inside. By the time we made it to the power plant, it was after one in the morning. I was sitting in my Jeep talking to my husband and praying out loud. My husband and my sister’s husband yelled at the officer to let us through. I yelled at my husband and brother-in-law because I saw the officer reaching for his weapon. But he finally let us through. We pulled up on the side of Triple X in front of the power plant, I jumped out and leaned over because I was literally sick to my stomach. Finally, my husband and I walked up to this officer and asked, “why did you all wait so long to go in?”
The officer said, “Ma’am I understand that was your parents, but I did not know them. Would you risk your life for my parents?” My husband looked at him and said, “If I wore that badge that is on your chest, your damn right I would. You take an oath to protect and to serve. If you don’t want to do it, you are in the wrong line of work.”
Another officer saw it upset me and my husband and started talking about protocol. My husband and I both at the same time said: “Well, your protocol just got two people killed.”
I then told my husband I was ready to go home to the family that I was so thankful to still have.
In Part Two, Evelyn will describe her quest to get answers. From meetings with the district attorney, to court hearings, phone calls and requests for reports, she has spent three years searching and writing and healing. Her family has fractured its relationships, and her trust for the justice system and law enforcement has been destroyed.
“I know with God on my side pushing me, I will eventually get somewhere. Like I (once) told my mom … you pray until you can’t pray no more and trust that God has our back because we are doing the right thing fighting for what is right with honesty and care,” said Evelyn.
copyright Evelyn Prince and The Luther Register, October 23, 2019.