By SGT. TONY SLOCUM
Public Information Officer, Indiana State Police District 16-Peru
STUART, FLA — A cold cas murder investigation by Indiana State Police Detective 1st. Sgt. Bob Burgess and Detective Josh Maller resulted in the arrest of William Stinemetz, 62, Palm City, Fla. The detectives served Stinemetz with a Fulton Circuit Court arrest warrant alleging felony charges for murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and theft.
The warrant was served Dec. 3 at the Martin County Jail in Florida where he is currently incarcerated on criminal charges stemming from cases in Florida.
On Sept. 26, 1997, at approximately 11:55 a.m., the Indiana Lawrence Bank at 221 E. Main St., Kewanna, was robbed, at gun point, by a white male that was approximately 5-foot 9 inches tall, husky build, and wearing a mask. He escaped with an undisclosed amount of United States currency.
Approximately an hour and forty minutes after the bank robbery, investigators received information that Lawrence Pfeifer, 69, Kewanna, was found shot to death in his home, which was located approximately one mile from the Lawrence Bank. Investigators developed information that Pfeifer’s red 1988 Chevrolet Corsica was allegedly used during the bank robbery. Investigators determined the bank robber used Pfeifer’s car while committing the robbery. The suspect then returned it to Pfeifer’s home and escaped in a different vehicle. The findings of a subsequent autopsy resulted in Pfeifer’s death being ruled a homicide.
Despite efforts by the Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department to identify the bank robber, and murder suspect, the cases went stale. Evidence which had been collected during the initial phase of the investigations was submitted to an Indiana State Police Laboratory for DNA analysis. The results were entered into the Combined DNA Index System.
On Nov. 9, 2015, a DNA profile was matched to Stinemetz. Further investigation, revealed Stinemetz had family ties to northern Indiana. Combined with the new DNA evidence and previous evidence gathered during the investigation, officers developed enough probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Stinemetz. The warrant alleged criminal charges for theft, robbery with a deadly weapon, and murder.