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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS Marianne Wilkinson was gunned down in her own doorway on the evening of December 9, 2007. Police have not yet found her killer, and now one of their best leads is dead.

'Our first reaction was just sort of shock, and we were just kind of speechless,' said Michael Wilkinson, the victim's son. 'We just sat there not knowing what to say.'

He was reacting to news from Oklahoma City, where 36-year-old Willie Boley of Palestine was shot by a woman he was dating Sunday night.

Earlier this year, North Richland Hills police said Boley was a 'person of interest' in Wilkinson's murder. Her family calls the development a disappointment.

'Here's a man who's a person of interest for a reason, so he apparently knows something that could have been very helpful,' Michael Wilkinson said. 'Now that he's gone, there's the concern that that information is gone as well.'

Investigators tell WFAA that although they only recently named Boley as a person of interest, he had been known to detectives since the beginning.

'We've known his whereabouts and have had contact with him,' North Richland Hills police said in a written statement. 'This does not change the course of the case.'

'I know they have done everything they could possibly do,' Wilkinson said. Still, he doesn't think Boley's trail or his mother's unsolved case has gone cold.

'There's the possibility that he told somebody something that he knew that now maybe they're not afraid to come forward anymore ... and possibly they will,' Wilkinson said.

If you know anything about the murder of Marianne Wilkinson or about Willie Boley, you're asked to call police. Wilkinson's death remains one of the Texas Rangers' Top 12 unsolved cases.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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