Unsolved homicide investigation; family believes police cut corners

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A local murder case is at a standstill. 

“I remember it just like yesterday,” says Carolyn Armstrong.

In the shadow of a church steeple is a dark memory for her.

“It was like thirty 911 calls that night,” she said. 

Near the intersection of 24th and Poplar in Pine Bluff, her 30-year-old son, Willie Baines was shot while sitting in the driver’s seat of a friend’s car February 18, 2017. 

“It was like 30 rounds, 31 rounds that they shot in the car,” Armstrong said about the flood of bullets found in the car. 

But the family says only one bullet hit Baines, and it was in the back of his head from close range. 

The man who was with Baines had no injuries. He was questioned by police. 

“They let him go. He had my son’s blood all over his shirt,” Armstrong said. 

Baines’ family says the father of three was working to turn his life around. 

With a stained record, he was trying to stay out of trouble, but the family says he had problems with one person — who they say police also questioned and released. 

“This is a small town. How can you not find one person?” asked Marcus Rodgers, Baines’ brother, who makes music and uses his brother as inspiration. 

“If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now,” he said. 

Though Baines has been gone for two years this week, Armstrong keeps him close to her heart — even as answers and action in his case seem out of reach. 

“We’re all looking for justice,” she said.

Pine Bluff Police say there are no updates in the case, though it remains an active investigation. 

If you have any information in this case, call police. You can remain anonymous. 

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