Crews continue search at retention pond for evidence in triple slaying



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County investigators are back out Friday at a pond they had drained, looking for clues in a triple slaying.

Family members of one of three people found shot to death in a shed last week are offering a reward to help track down a person of interest in the case.

Skywitness Nine was above the scene off Curry Ford Road as crews began pumping water from a retention pond near the site of the murders Thursday in hopes of finding evidence.

On Friday, investigators were sifting through what was found at the bottom of the pond.

The bodies of Richard Button, Todd Lemme and Deborah Watson were found with gunshot wounds inside a horse barn next to the retention pond off Curry Ford Road last week.

The trio was homeless and living in a shed near the retention pond, authorities said.

The original 911 call came from one of the victims on the night of the shootings, but deputies said they searched and didn't find anything.

It wasn't until the next morning when a resident found the bodies and called deputies.

Leonard Lewis, 47, is considered a person of interest in the case.

A friend of the victims, Jarib Martin, said Lewis and the woman killed, Watson, had a relationship that had recently ended on bad terms.

“She had had enough of him beating her," Martin said. “She had marks all over her arms.”

Lewis was arrested in 2007 for false imprisonment and battery after he allegedly beat his live-in girlfriend because she asked him to get a job.

According to the report, she had severe bruises on her throat, severe swelling from beatings on her cheek and a bald spot on the top of her head.

“I believe it; it's not a surprise to me at all. Nobody wanted him around,” Martin said.

Lemme’s family said that Lemme chose to be homeless because he wanted to help the homeless community by being part of it.

A memorial sits at the foot of the pond, which friends said shooting victim Rick Button treated like prime real estate, even though he lived in a shed.

"It was his pride and joy because he kept it clean and neat and tidy, yes he did," said Charlie Orr.

Friends of the victims told Channel 9's Karla Ray that Lewis and Watson may have been romantically involved.

Orr said those who know Button, Lemme and Watson are praying for answers as investigators search the pond.

The family is accepting donations that they will use to create a $5,000 reward.

Previous Story: Deputies search for more clues in triple murder; admit to mishandling of 911 calls