GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Nearly two months after a kidnapping that left an Upstate couple brutalized, Greenville County deputies said they have made five arrests but are still searching for additional suspects.

The first two arrests were announced on Nov. 8. Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown announced that Mark Allen Wright oh Travelers Rest and Jack Corris of Foreman of Pahokee, FL had been charged.

The arrests come following the brutal robbery and kidnapping of Warren and Ann Willis, which occurred on Sep. 25.

"In all my years, I don't remember an assault this brutal," Sheriff Brown said.

Warren, the owner of several W.E. Willis Grocery stores, was kidnapped at the Travelers Rest location on Highway 414 back by five suspects. He was forcibly taken home, where he and Ann were tied up and beaten. Ann was also shot and stabbed in the attack, arrest warrants state..

Ann Willis remains in the hospital in critical condition, Brown said.


Deputies released surveillance photos of five suspects, who were masked when the kidnapping occurred. 

Sheriff Brown said the suspects surrounded Mr. Willis when he exited his store, bound his arms with zip-ties, then forced him into his Nissan Armanda and drove him to his home on Sweetgum Road. There, they encountered Mrs. Willis, who was also bound with zip-ties. Both husband and wife were brutally beaten and Mrs. Willis was also shot.

The suspects fled with cash in Mr. Willis' Armada, which Brown said was later found burned on McKinney Road. Deputies found an article of evidence in that vehicle and another piece of evidence the following day on Bates Crossing Road, which Brown said contained DNA evidence that led them to the suspects.

Brown said deputies flew to Florida on Nov. 6 and joined a task force in Palm Beach County which executed a warrant on Nov. 7 when Foreman was taken into custody.

Deputies in Greenville County also arrested Wright on Nov. 7, Brown said.

Investigators still do not know why the suspects conspired to rob and brutalize the Willises but Brown said deputies found evidence to show that Forman arrived in the Upstate on September 16 and then returned to Florida on Sep. 25.

Brown said Wright faces charges of kidnapping, arson, criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, attempted murder, assault and battery, burglary, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Chandra Willis-Kasa said the family did not know either suspect at all. She called the case "puzzling" and said she doesn't understand why her parents were attacked and robbed. She said the suspects seemed to know her father's schedule and knew how to get from his store in Landrum to their home in Travelers Rest, because they never asked for directions during the drive.

Willis-Kasa said the family is grateful to the investigators for their hard work and to the community for their continued prayers. She said the family is hopeful the other three unknown suspects will be arrested soon.

Below is Willis-Kasa's full statement after the initial arrests:

My family extends such appreciation & admiration for such a caring & brilliant investigation team! We are so thankful for Sheriff Brown & his team. We believe & have such confidence that the remainder of arrests will be made soon. We continue to pray for the law enforcers’ safety.
My family feels relieved at the arrests, but still quite puzzled as to why we were targeted & the horrific violence that occurred.
My family also extends appreciation to Fox Carolina & all media sources for covering our story. We ask that you please continue to do so! There’s still work to be done.
My family continues to be amazed at the power of prayer from family, friends, & people from all over the country! We’ve never experienced such specific praying & God’s results of it.
Please continue to pray for us, the medical team, & investigation team!
Please continue to pray for Mark Wright, James Foremen, the other three individuals, & any others that maybe connected. Pray for them to find Jesus.
W.E. are Strong!

On Nov. 10, deputies announced a third arrest in the case. 38-year-old Jermaine Bernard Williams was charged with burglary 1st degree, assault and battery first degree, kidnapping, arson third degree, criminal conspiracy, grand larceny, and armed robbery.

       MORE: Bond denied for third man arrested in W.E. Willis case, search continues for remaining two suspects

On Nov. 14, deputies announced Ronald Edmond, 20, and Kenyatta Foster, had been arrested in the case. Deputies said the suspects were arrested Tuesday after a Nov. 7 search warrant on Woodvine Way implicated them as accessories after the fact.

Deputies said both Edmond and Foster attempted to cover up the crimes and lied to investigators about what they knew about the robbery and assault of the Willises.

Both Edmond and Foster were charged as accessory after the fact to a felony and were denied bond.

Deputies said the search is ongoing for at least three additional suspects in the case.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Producer

Multimedia Producer

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.