LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has updated the status of a missing couple: the husband has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a confrontation with police, and is now the suspect in his wife’s disappearance.

Sheriff Chris Swanson announced Wednesday that the investigation into missing couple Steven Higgins, 57, and Kelly McWhirter, 60, revealed evidence suggesting Higgins and McWhirter had a violent altercation and that Higgins was responsible for McWhirter going missing.

After police found Higgins driving in Montrose Township and pulled him over, Swanson said Higgins argued with officers before he pulled out a weapon and shot himself in the head.

Higgins died after being driven to a nearby hospital.

Swanson said the search is still on for McWhirter and asked anyone who may have seen a white 2022 Hyundai Tucson or a gray 2009 Ford F-150 driving anywhere between Flushing and Ohio this past weekend, to contact law enforcement immediately.

  • McWhirter is still missing. Higgins, now deceased, is suspected of her disappearance and shot himself when confronted by police. (Photos: Genesee Co. Sheriff)

The sheriff’s office first announced on Tuesday that Higgins and McWhirther were both missing, but signs of a bloody altercation at the married couple’s home and other evidence changed the investigation’s direction.

According to Swanson, Higgins and McWhirter had an argument at their home over the weekend on the 400 block of Luce Avenue in Flushing.

He said the confrontation became physical and caused some type of injury with significant blood loss. Swanson added the scene at the home appeared to be “cleaned up.”

In the home’s driveway was a 2022 white Hyundai Tucson belonging to McWhirter. A gray 2009 Ford F-150 was missing from the home. Evidence of the bloody struggle was also apparent inside the Hyundai.

Cell phone data led police to a home in Norwalk, Ohio, where investigators spoke to a person on Tuesday night. Higgins, and McWhirter’s Hyundai, is believed by the sheriff’s office to have been there from Saturday to Sunday.

Swanson said Higgins drove McWhirter’s Hyundai from Flushing to the Norwalk area and then back again between this past weekend and Tuesday.

At 3 a.m. on Wednesday, a Saginaw County resident saw the gray F-150 driven by Higgins speeding down the road near Elm Road and Wheeler Drive in Montrose Township. Law enforcement then spotted and pulled over the vehicle, leading to the altercation where Higgins shot himself.

“Kelly is a beautiful soul,” said Swanson. “The likelihood of a violent confrontation [between Higgins and McWhirter] is high, and we’re going to bring justice one way or another.”