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Official confirms death as murder


Salina Journal, The (KS)-August 19, 2003

        BELOIT — Beloit Police Chief Frank Gent confirmed Monday that Carol Fleming was the woman found dead in her home early Saturday and that her death is being investigated as a murder.

        “We still have no arrests at this point,” Gent said, and further, no arrests are “imminent.”

        What caused the death of the 51-year-old mother, grandmother and beauty salon owner has not been released, although family members have stated Fleming was shot in the head.

        The 600 block of East Fourth still was barricaded Monday and crime-scene tape surrounded the house and property at 622 E. Fourth, where police were called at 3:23 a.m. Saturday. Who made the call to police was not released.

        Some evidence collected at the scene will be sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Topeka, Gent said.

        Fleming’s body was removed from the scene Sunday, Gent said, but he did not say whether an autopsy would be performed.

        “We wanted to be meticulous in our searches and collection of evidence,” the chief said in explaining why the body was at the house for more than a day. “So it was necessary to do that until all of the scene and evidence had been examined.”

        A family’s struggles

        Meanwhile, friends and family struggle to come to grips with the loss of Fleming, and the community is dealing with Beloit’s first homicide in nearly a decade.

        Her funeral is planned for 2 p.m. Thursday at Beloit United Methodist Church. An obituary is on Page A4 of today’s edition.

        If you have information about the murder of Beloit resident Carol Fleming, call the Mitchell County Law Enforcement Center at (785) 738-2203 or 1-800-KS CRIME.

        “She’s my favorite sister,” said Steve Schmidt, Jewell, one of Carol Fleming’s three brothers. “She’s the most beautiful person. You just can’t imagine what she’s done for us all.”

        The tragic news was especially difficult, because the death comes seven days before the 30th anniversary of a car wreck that killed Carol’s sister, Barbara Schmidt, in Jewell County, said their mother, Connie Schmidt of Ionia.

        The family has been getting its information from law enforcement officials, Barbara Schmidt said, through Carol Fleming’s sister, Janice McDaniel, Wellington, who has been spending time in Beloit.

        Connie Schmidt remembers her daughter as a fun-loving person.

        “She was full of life, and I think everybody liked her,” she said.

        It could be some time before many more details are released, Gent said. It just depends how the murder probe progresses.

        “We’re still investigating some leads. We never know when that little piece of information may come in,” he said. “Here we are in the third day, and we still have several avenues we’re checking out.”

        The public has flooded the law enforcement center with information, which local law enforcement welcomes. Rumors abound in the small town.

        Fleming’s downtown beauty salon, Joint Effort, is closed until Friday, said Norma Fleming, her mother-in-law.

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