A look into Barry Whitton's background - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

A look into Barry Whitton's background

Barry Whitton in 1997 Barry Whitton in 1997

Barry Whitton, the man arrested last week on federal weapons charges, is now considered a suspect in his wife and step-daughter's disappearance.

A judge denied bond for Whitton, who is in federal custody for being a convicted felon in possession of 5 firearms.

During the detention hearing, an FBI agent said blood evidence was found in a truck on the Whitton property and on a small hatchet.

It's still being processed to find out if it's Kim Whitton's or Haleigh Culwell's.

Also brought up during the hearing, the death of Whitton's first wife.

Barry Whitton was a suspect in Michelle Whitton's murder nearly 10-years ago.

It took hours of digging through old video, but what we found is priceless.

Barry Whitton gave us an interview when his first wife was missing.

A look back at Michelle Whitton's murder, the focus of this WAFF 48 Investigators Report.

In December 1997, 28-year-old Michelle Whitton was reported missing by her husband Barry Whitton.

He told investigators she went to get breakfast in Scottsboro, but never returned.

The river was dragged, people searched by air, all in hopes of finding the young mother.

Then came news Michelle's car was found and that's when WAFF 48 News went to talk with her husband, Barry.

"The discovery of the car. Did that give you some hope or did it hurt?"

"They say there wasn't any sign of foul play in the car so that gives me hope that she's still alive," said Whitton in 1997. 

But people in the community were already questioning if Barry could've been involved.

"Do you have anything to do with your wife's disappearance?"

"No sir."

"Does it hurt you that some of the family's even thinking about that?"

"Yes."

"What's going through your mind?"

"Anything and everything. I just don't know what to think."

Then, 6 weeks after she was reported missing, the case took a tragic turn.

"Our investigation has determined this morning that it is the body of Michelle Whitton reported missing out of Jackson County," said former sheriff Cecil Reed in January 1998.

Michelle was found in a shallow grave in Dekalb County near Powell in January 1998.

She had been beaten to death.

Barry was a suspect in the murder, but to this day, the case remains unsolved.

At the time Michelle was reported missing, she and Barry lived in the Dutton Community.

Her body was actually found about a mile from where Barry lives now.

As for why Whitton was never charged, we're still waiting for an answer from the DA.

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