Janesville police arrest man in killing
That’s what one former co-worker said Wednesday about the 49-year-old Schaefer, whom police found dead Tuesday at her home at 326 S. Parker Drive, Janesville.
Schaefer’s boyfriend, Michael R. Paul, 36, of the same address, is in custody on suspicion of killing Schaefer. He was arrested Tuesday on charges of reckless homicide and hiding a corpse. He is in custody at the Rock County Jail and is expected to make his first court appearance this afternoon.
Julie Miranda of Beloit said she knew Schaefer for about nine months. The women worked together at Walmart in Janesville before Miranda transferred to the Beloit store.
Although they hadn’t been friends long, Miranda said Schaefer was an easy person to get to know.
“She was very easy to love,” Miranda said. “She had a big heart. She was very caring. She would do anything for anybody.”
Schaefer’s daughter called police Sunday night to report her mother missing, according to Janesville Police Department reports. Police were dispatched to the home for a welfare check at 9:10 p.m. Sunday, according to police reports. Police opened a missing person case.
Police were concerned but did not suspect foul play, Deputy Chief Dan Davis said.
“At that point in time, there was nothing suspicious about the nature of the contact,” Davis said.
A family member contacted police with information she learned through a social media website, Davis said. By Tuesday morning, police had gathered enough information to make them think Schaefer’s disappearance could be suspicious, he said.
“There was information on each side of the ledger,” Davis said. “In my eyes, it was tipping that way. In the eyes of some others, it was tipping that way.”
The information gleaned from the social media website was enough for police to seek a search warrant, which they executed at the home at 2:03 p.m. Tuesday. Police found Schaefer’s body concealed under the stairs in the basement of her home, he said.
Davis would not speculate on the cause or time of Schaefer’s death. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday morning, and results were not available Wednesday night, Lt. Keith Lawver said.
The last time a relative had spoken with Schaefer was Saturday night, he said.
Schaefer and Paul lived with a man, but the man was out of the country and had just returned home, Davis said Wednesday during a news conference. As far as police can tell, Schaefer and Paul were alone in the house at the time of the homicide, Davis said.
Police never had been called to the house before Sunday and did not have previous contact with the couple, Davis said.
Paul was home Tuesday when police executed the search warrant that allowed them to gather evidence from the house and from Paul's body, Davis said. Paul cooperated with police and made a statement about the incident, Davis said.
Davis said the homicide was related to domestic violence. Allison Hokinson with the YWCA of Rock County and Sgt. Anne Brophy with the police department’s domestic intervention team joined Davis during Wednesday’s news conference.
“Domestic violence has been and continues to be a priority for the Janesville Police Department,” Davis said.
Members of the intervention team make contact with the victims of reported domestic violence in the days after the incidents. Officers work to connect victims with services at the YWCA and gather additional information about the incidents.
The domestic violence team, which was founded in 2010, made 93 visits to victims in 2010 and 126 visits in 2011, Hokinson said.