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Case waiting on tests – Six weeks later, no arrests have been made in Beloit death


Salina Journal, The (KS)-October 6, 2003

        BELOIT — More than six weeks after Carol Fleming was murdered in her home here in Beloit, authorities have little to report in their investigation.

        There have been no arrests and no suspects announced in the shooting death early Aug. 16, when Fleming, 51, died from a single gunshot to the head.

        Mitchell County Attorney Rod Ludwig is waiting on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Topeka.

        “There’s nothing to tell, yet. We don’t have any lab results. They haven’t finished it yet,” Ludwig said. KBI agent Bill Pettijohn is calling weekly to ask about the results, he said.

        “There’s some complicated DNA testing being done. It’s not just a few items, either,” Ludwig said.

        Rumors still are rolling through town about who shot the widow, mother and business woman.

        “I think they’re taking their time,” said Charlie Fleming, , Carol Fleming’s father-in-law.

        “I can’t see why it takes so long to get all the tests in,” he said. “I think probably what they’re doing is making sure, before they arrest anybody, that they’ve got the right one.”

        In the meantime, there’s a murderer on the loose.

        “I don’t think anything’s turning up,” said June Boller, who works at Joint Effort, Carol Fleming’s beauty salon in Beloit. “I think it’s on everybody’s mind. They don’t know who did it or whether they’re safe.”

        Backlogs are common at the KBI lab, said agent Kyle Smith, an agency spokesman, although it’s currently “not too bad.”

        He said the lab received evidence from the Beloit murder Aug. 20. With a full staff, Smith said, the turnaround is usually within 30 days, although DNA testing takes longer.

        The KBI is short one scientist and a couple of technicians.

        “We do have it (the evidence), and we’re working on it,” he said, “but I don’t have an estimate of when it’s going to be done.”

        Those who conduct tests on fingerprints, firearms and fluids, for example, occasionally will be subpoenaed to testify in court, which can bog down other cases.

        “We just have to deal with limitations as far as manpower and the space we have,” Smith said, adding that some cases do carry more priority. “If prosecutors do need it faster, we will try to accommodate them when we can.”

        Ludwig said he assumed Pettijohn had asked for priority in the Fleming murder evidence.

        The KBI also is concerned.

        “You worry about people wandering off and committing new crimes,” Smith said.

        Meanwhile, Beloit and Mitchell County officers are still interviewing people.

        “We don’t have anybody charged, and it’s frustrating,” Ludwig said. “We can’t make a decision on where to proceed until we get lab results back.”

        Joint Effort is closing Friday, and Boller is moving to Total Image, another salon in Beloit.

        Boller won’t forget working more than seven years for Carol Fleming.

        “She was a lot of fun,” Boller said, “always smiling.”

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