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updated: 8/26/2014 5:45 AM

Grandson charged in slaying of 85-year-old East Dundee woman

Suspect taken into custody in Texas

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  • Richard Schmelzer

      Richard Schmelzer

  • The grandson of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington of East Dundee has been charged with her murder.

       The grandson of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington of East Dundee has been charged with her murder.
    Doug T. Graham | Staff Photographer

 
 

The grandson of an 85-year-old East Dundee woman was charged Monday with her stabbing death last month.

Richard Schmelzer, 41, was taken into custody Monday afternoon in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He is charged with two counts of murder in the death of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington, who was found in her home July 18.

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The arrest warrant was approved Friday by Kane County Circuit Court Judge John Barsanti, who authorized bail at $5 million, according to prosecutors.

Schmelzer was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers and members of the Frisco Police Department. He is awaiting extradition in Denton County, Texas.

East Dundee Police Chief Terry Mee would not provide a motive for the murder, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities have been on alert for three days but waited to make the arrest because they did not want to storm the house and endanger Schmelzer's four daughters living with him, Mee said.

"They arrested him when he came out of the house at about 4:05 p.m. today. He was checking mail," he said. "There was a desire to not put anyone at risk by attempting an entry into the home or making an arrest inside the home when the kids were there."

Mee said Schmelzer became a "person of interest" early in the investigation.

"We've pursued this day and night since the 18th and particularly after it was determined through a post-mortem exam that it was a homicide," Mee said.

Mee said Schmelzer lived two blocks from his grandmother's East Dundee home from the time he was 2 years old until eighth grade, and he was a frequent visitor.

His family later moved to an unincorporated area near West Dundee.

Schmelzer, a 1991 graduate of Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, was formerly a trainer for the Harlem Globetrotters, the world-famous razzle-dazzle basketball squad.

Mee said several area law enforcement agencies helped with the investigation, including the Kane County sheriff's office Major Crimes Task Force, and police departments from South Elgin, Carpentersville, West Dundee, Huntley; the Kane County state's attorney's office and U.S. Marshal's office also were involved.

"I very much appreciate the trust and the patience exhibited by the immediate family members and certainly the residents of East Dundee," Mee said.

Darrington was a lifelong resident of the Schaumburg-Dundee areas, a member of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Dundee, and a longtime active member of the Dundee Township Senior Citizens Organization and the 50+ Club.

"Our work in this case is just beginning," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said in a news release. "But I wish to assure Mrs. Darrington's family, friends and neighbors that our goal is justice for Mrs. Darrington, for her family and for the East Dundee community."

If convicted, Schmelzer could be sentenced to between 20 and 60 years in prison.

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