LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday that it has found the possible weapon used in the case of missing local woman Kelly McWhirter.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson did not specifically identify what object was used as the murder weapon, but confirmed investigators believe it was used by McWhirter’s husband and lead suspect, Steven Higgins, to cause blunt force trauma. Swanson said the object is still being tested.

Swanson said the weapon was located up-north at a house in Prescott in Ogemaw County. Swanson said Higgins visited the home of his friend’s widow. The woman told investigators Higgins was at her home on Tuesday doing yard work.

Law enforcement is searching for McWhirter's body. Higgins, now deceased, is suspected of her disappearance and shot himself when confronted by police. (Photos: Genesee Co. Sheriff)
Law enforcement is searching for McWhirter’s body. Higgins, now deceased, is suspected of her disappearance and shot himself when confronted by police. (Photos: Genesee Co. Sheriff)

When she discovered Higgins and McWhirter were listed as missing and endangered, she pointed a gun at Higgins and ordered him to leave. Before leaving, Higgins gave the woman what investigators believe to be the murder weapon.

Investigators are now focusing on the areas visited by Higgins as they search for McWhirter’s body.

The map of areas where law enforcement believe McWhirter’s body could possibly be located. Higgins visited these points after attacking McWhirter at the couple’s home in Flushing (Photo/Genesee County).

“Clearly it was a domestic violence situation, one that is all too familiar to so many people out there,” Swanson said during a press conference, which was also streamed live on Facebook.

McWhirter disappeared from her home in Flushing over the weekend following a confrontation with Higgins. Swanson believes Higgins killed McWhirter on Saturday.

Law enforcement initially sent out a release on Tuesday that said both McWhirter and Higgins were missing and endangered, but evidence gathered during the search for the couple led investigators to believe Higgins was the aggressor and McWhirter was the sole victim.

After taking multiple trips that covered ground between Norwalk, Ohio and Prescott, Higgins was eventually tracked down in Montrose Township on Wednesday. He shot himself in the head after being pulled over by local police.

Inside Higgins’ truck, investigators found a significant amount of blood, along with landscaping tools freshly covered in dirt and a body bag. Officers did not have a chance to speak with Higgins, as he died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

Swanson revealed on Friday that Higgins had a long criminal history, which includes felony convictions for strangulation, larceny and carrying a concealed weapon, and has spent between six to 20 years in prison.

A candlelight vigil was held for McWhirter outside of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office building, where she worked as a secretary.

The sheriff’s office is asking people who live in the areas covered by this case to check their Ring cameras, and says anyone who may have seen a white 2022 Hyundai Tucson or a gray 2009 Ford F-150 driving anywhere between Flushing and Norwalk, Ohio this past weekend, should contact law enforcement immediately.