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BELOIT MURDER:Suspect list getting longer – More than 50 people have been questioned about Aug. 16 killing


Salina Journal, The (KS)-February 18, 2004

        BELOIT — Finding Carol Fleming’s killer requires cooperation, Mitchell County Attorney Rod Ludwig said Tuesday, and to date that’s been lacking.

        More than 50 people have been interviewed, including some in other states, since Fleming, 51, was gunned down in her home during the early hours of Aug. 16.

        Since that night, the three lead investigators on the case each have logged roughly 600 hours, Ludwig wrote in a press release. Those include lead investigator Bill Pettijohn, senior special agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Mitchell County Sheriff Doug Daugherty and sheriff’s office Investigator Wayne Loy.

        The probe has led them to 30 to 40 people with knowledge of events leading up to the murder, he wrote, and “only a handful have been willing to speak to investigators.”

        Ludwig said Tuesday he remained “determined” to nab Fleming’s killer, but the suspect list is getting larger instead of smaller.

        “I don’t think the people understand the burden of proof,” he said. “All I want to do is get this thing solved, find out who did it, get them charged and, most importantly, obtain a conviction.”

        That requires a thorough investigation. Officers continue to interview witnesses and follow up on new leads, he wrote.

        Monday marked the six-month anniversary of the murder, and there have been no arrests.

        “Because of that, very little information can be made public to ensure that no information is released that could result in and be used by the individual or individuals responsible for the murder … to avoid prosecution and conviction for their crime,” Ludwig wrote.

        Some Beloit residents have criticized the investigation, he said, and that tends to “hamper” the pursuit of those responsible for the murder, he said.

        “We cannot stress enough the importance of community cooperation in this matter,” Ludwig wrote.

        Lab problems

        Ludwig also said he’s not satisfied with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Topeka.

        “I felt it took too long,” for results to return, and some tests were not performed, he said.

        KBI spokesman Kyle Smith said Tuesday that a test on one item came back negative.

        “They resubmitted it and wanted a different test done,” he said. “There’s one thing left that hasn’t been tested. Everything else has been tested and results given.”

        Smith said the last items submitted for testing arrived in early January. He couldn’t comment specifically on the evidence.

        One of the complaints from Beloit residents involved a lack of communication about a $1,000 offer by the Beloit Eagles Club for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Fleming’s killer.

        “A representative from the Eagles advised the sheriff’s department (Monday) that the full amount of this reward was now available,” Ludwig wrote. “The sheriff had received only $20 prior to that date.”

        Eagles Club officer Dan Simoneau said fellow officer Paul Abram tried twice to notify Sheriff Daugherty.

        “We’ve been trying to place this money somewhere. We knew of others who wanted to offer a reward,” Simoneau said. “Carol was a close friend. It just kind of floored everybody when this happened.”

        Ludwig said he has petitioned Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’s office to offer a $5,000 reward.

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