While William Dathan Holbert, also known as Wild Bill, gave the impression of being a gregarious barman who hosted extravagant parties, he was actually hiding a dark secret from everyone. William is actually a cold-blooded killer who was unable to stop his greed and himself from doing the ultimate sin. In “Dateline Stealing Paradise,” it is described how William killed American expats Cher Lynn Hughes and Bo Islar in order to seize control of their estates.
Who Is William Dathan Holbert?
Although Saluda, North Carolina, is William Dathan Holbert’s hometown, readers may find it interesting to learn that the police have been looking for him since 2006. Although William had a nice life in Saluda with a wife and children, reports state that he had an affair with a coworker at a nearby gym before stealing $25k from the company, divorcing his first wife, and fleeing to the island of Bocas del Toro. William settled down in Bocas Del Toro with Laura Michelle Reese, his second wife, and they opened a pub there.
It’s interesting to note that William “Wild Bill” Adolfo Cortez and Jane Cortez introduced themselves to Bo Islar, Cher Lynn Hughes, and the other American expats. William and his spouse quickly assimilated into the expat scene and even rose to some level of popularity. In fact, they were so adored that when Bo Islar and Cher vanished in December 2009 and March 2010, respectively, nobody thought they were the victims of foul play.
When Bo vanished in December 2009, many assumed he had moved away from the island to establish himself somewhere. Besides, Bo was a reclusive person, so it wasn’t unusual for him to disappear without warning. However, because Cher was well-liked by the locals and enjoyed her time on the island, her disappearance in March 2010 raised serious concerns. Furthermore, Cher’s friends and relatives insisted that her sudden departure without saying anything was quite unusual, and some even suspected foul play.
However, William showed no worry for these charges; in fact, not long after Cher vanished, he hosted a party at her home. Later on, partygoers remarked on how strange it was to witness others having fun with the missing woman’s possessions lying around the house. By now, Don Winner, a journalist, was working for Cher’s family. Don Winner maintained the Panama Guide, a news portal for visitors to Panama. Don witnessed William acting strangely soon after, and he even observed Cher’s dog frequently meandering over William’s land as though he was searching for something familiar. Because of his suspicions about foul play, he requested that William be placed under custody for unlawful gun possession in Florida while the inquiry was ongoing.
Law enforcement officials took Don’s advise and obtained a search warrant for William’s property. They soon found the bodies of Bo and Cher buried in the backyard. William and his spouse managed to leave the island in the interim and travelled to Costa Rica. But the suspects’ information—along with a photo—was rapidly circulated by the Panamanian police, and an informant quickly guided officers to the couple.
William Dathan Holbert is Still Behind Bars
William admitted to killing Bo and Cher after he was apprehended, saying he did it to take advantage of their properties. But when the police gave William a map of his land and asked him to put an x where the victims were buried, the story took an intriguing turn. The suspect indicated how he killed Michael Francis Salem, his wife, and their child shortly after moving to the island of Bocas Del Toro, but instead of placing two marks on the map, he ended up placing five. The murderer even detailed how he separated one family member from the other before killing them in cold blood. It was eventually discovered that Michael and his family had lived at William’s home before the latter moved there. Furthermore, William admitted to killing Jeffrey Kline, another American expat, after fighting with him on his boat.
Laura Michelle Reese, William’s wife, maintained her innocence and said she had nothing to do with her husband’s actions in the meantime. She was not believed by the authorities, though, and the couple remained behind bars until 2017. William was ultimately found guilty in 2017 by the nation of Panama of robbing and killing five individuals, and he was given a 47-year prison sentence. However, his wife was found guilty of her involvement in the killings and given a 26-year prison sentence.
Fascinatingly, William was appointed the Catholic Church’s chaplain at the Public Jail of David as he awaited trial. at 2020, he took on the roles of pastor and mediator in one of La Joya’s super-maximum security wings. William does, however, continue serve a prison sentence in Panama, where he is the head of Los Reos Unificados, a syndicated group of Christian prisoners.