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Fatal Standoff Suspect Had Sole Custody of Kids Despite Criminal History

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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Court documents obtained by FOX 17 show the challenges Duncan Willis had as a father.

The 27-year-old has a lengthy criminal record that dates back to 2007. He has numerous convictions for domestic violence and assault and battery.

Those documents reveal that Willis is a familiar face for district and circuit court judges in Mecosta and Lake Counties.  He’s also spent a considerable amount of time in family court for cases related to his children. The cases range from child support to custody hearings.

Despite his criminal convictions, records show that Willis had sole custody of several of his children.

He missed the most recent hearing, which occurred Friday. That morning, state police said Willis was the gunman involved in a fatal 11-hour standoff.

Police said Willis barged into a neighbor’s home with a firearm and held six people hostage in a home on Cramer Road in Rogers Heights. Three women were sexually assaulted, and another was killed.

Willis is now lodged in the Mecosta County Jail.

After the standoff, Child Protective Services removed his 5-year-old daughter from his home.

Court records show that Willis had been granted custody of the 5-year-old because the child’s mother was an unfit parent. The mother had substance abuse issues and numerous involvements with CPS for neglect.

Just a week before the standoff, Willis gained custody of his three boys because the boys were allegedly physically abused by their mother’s husband. Willis wrote the court a letter asking that the kids’ mother pay child support.

In all, a Mecosta County court referee believes Willis had five children living with him.

He’s due in court on Dec. 2 for his preliminary examination.

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