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The Family of Bill & Lee Chapman
Facebook: A Voice for Bill & Lee Chapman




MERCED, CA – TEN YEARS AGO, on October 1, 2006, the lives of one Merced family changed forever. Bill and Lee Chapman were murdered in their quiet neighborhood in Merced, California. To make matters worse, their house was then set on fire in an effort to destroy evidence.

“My grandparents were the sweetest people you could meet. The family joke was that Grandpa had more jobs than me, even though he was 70 years older,” says Stephanie Mason, 31, one of the couple’s seven grandchildren.

While many may remember Bill as the man behind Chapman’s Shoes in the 1960s and 1970s, in his later years he served as a custodian to his church and sold both vacuums and vitamins part time. Lee kept herself busy around the home, especially with her love for books and popular culture. She was always taking care of her children and grandchildren, making sure all were fed to bursting whenever they came to visit.

Mason continued, “They were our biggest supporters. They were at graduations and sporting games. They attended every birthday party they possibly could. Most importantly, they loved their three children and seven grandchildren equally.”

But what remains for the family besides who did this, is the lingering question of why would anyone want to murder their parents and grandparents. What could possibly prompt somebody to murder a sweet, elderly couple that had been married 59 years? They had survived depression and war and yet their lives were taken from them in their own home.

A $50,000 reward remains in place by the State of California for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this tragedy. Anyone with information is asked to call Merced police detective Joe Deliman or the department’s anonymous tipster line at (209) 385-4725.

Family and friends are invited to join together for a candlelight vigil to remember Bill and Lee Chapman. The vigil will be held Saturday, October 1, at 7pm, at the site of their former home on Bear Creek Drive.

“Their absence is felt at every Christmas, every birthday, and every major family event. They missed out on graduations, weddings and now the birth of six great grandchildren. There is a tremendous hole in our family because of their unexpected deaths,” says Mason.