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Retired Homicide Detective and His Ex-Wife Arrested in 1999 Murder

Authorities in Jacksonville, Florida say they have found the culprits in the May 17, 1999 murder of Saad Kawaf. It turns out this case landed very close to home. Former Jacksonville homicide detective William Baer and ex-wife Melissa Jo Schafer were responsible, authorities said in a Florida Times-Union report.

Undersheriff Pat Ivey said that Kawaf and his wife were robbed of $30,000. The wife was tied up. Kawaf was stabbed and beaten to death.

He told the newspaper that Melissa Jo Schafer was arrested Thursday in Jefferson City, Missouri. Online jail records viewed by Law&Crime shows that Baer is locked up by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on one count each of murder and armed robbery.

The former detective worked for the JSO from 1975 until he retired in 2002.

According to Ivey’s account, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was able to develop DNA from two possible suspects in 2003.

Jump forward to May 2020. The FDLC used genealogy data to develop two profiles, leading to Baer and Schafer, authorities said.

Baer had reportedly been part of an investigation into Kawaf, who was allegedly selling pseudoephedrine.  Law enforcement sources cited by First Coast News said that Baer and Schafer ambushed the Kawaf outside his home. Kawaf’s wife reportedly said that she was grabbed by a female attacker but managed the bite the woman.  The DNA collected from the bite contributed to finding the perpetrators decades later, authorities said.

[Mugshot via Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office]

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