No arrests, few leads in slayings of husband, wife

John Hacker

Officers with the Tri-State Major Case Squad, who were helping local investigators check leads in the slaying of a rural Carthage couple, were sent home Friday as the flow of leads dwindled to a trickle.

The investigation into the Oct. 12 deaths of Bob Sheldon, 70, and his wife, Ellen Louise Sheldon, 71, at their home on North Black Powder Lane west of Carthage continues as investigators plan to take a second look a the leads they have gathered to make sure no detail has been overlooked.

Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn said there may have been a couple of Missouri State Highway Patrol Troopers still at the Jasper County Jail helping run down clues Saturday, but most other officers with the squad were sent home Friday.

Dunn said the Major Case Squad is most useful in the first few days after a crime when a flood of leads can sometimes overwhelm investigators from a local department.

It brings in additional, experienced investigators when they can be used to run down the leads that come in.

"You always get an influx of leads that need to be checked at first," Dunn said. "That influx of leads has slowed to a trickle, so we didn't need all the extra officers."

Dunn said Saturday any rumors of an arrest in the case are false.

"Boy, I would love to tell you they are true, but they aren't," Dunn said. "If they were, we'd be shouting about it."

Dunn said officers still have control of the home and the nearby Old Cabin Shop, where Bob Sheldon sold hunting equipment for a number of years.

Dunn said he and the other officers are still working on the investigation.

Dunn said in the meantime, he recommended that people be cautious, but not panic.

"Obviously someone who killed two people is still on the loose and I would be wrong to say that is not a concern," Dunn said. "That neighborhood should be safe because there are officers watching the crime scene 24 hours a day, and other people should use reasonable precautions."

Fast Fact:

The purpose of a unit like the Tri-State Major Case Squad is to bring a lot of investigators to look into a lot of leads and clues in the shortest amount of time possible. The initial discovery of a crime usually produces a flood of information that must be checked as quickly as possible. Once that initial flood of information starts slowing down, usually within a few days of the crime, the number of officers needed to check those leads goes down so those officers can be released to return to their normal duties in their own departments.

Carthage Press