Warrants provide motive, timeline in E. Dundee murder
A flurry of search warrants filed by authorities investigating the stabbing death of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington of East Dundee suggests her grandson drove here from Texas using a car rented by a friend who he communicated with via a prepaid cellphone.
Richard C. Schmelzer, 41, of Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, was arrested last month and charged with the murder of Darrington, 85, who was found in her home on July 18.
Search warrants of financial records, credit reports, cellphone records and credit card information have indicated Schmelzer had financial problems and stood to inherit half of his grandmother's estate, estimated at as much as $1 million.
Recently unsealed search warrants in Kane County state that Schmelzer made numerous payments to two sisters in Las Vegas, one of whom was an escort that he began a relationship with in December 2013, paid an estimated $50,000 and then began to harass the woman through text messages.
"Richard later learned that she was married, and (he) wanted his money back and became upset, threatening her with bodily harm," the search warrant stated.
Schmelzer told police he was at a conference in Texas during the time Darrington was murdered, but his alibis of taking a test at the conference and visiting a restaurant later didn't check out, according to court records. His wife and three kids were in Montana at the time.
Other search warrants recently unsealed show that authorities interviewed Schmelzer and his 29-year-old friend after seeing the pair on ATM surveillance at a pizza restaurant July 18 in Texas.
The friend, who the Daily Herald is not naming because he has not been charged, was "evasive" to authorities about where he and Schmelzer were during the time frame of Darrington's death, according to a search warrant.
Authorities also learned the friend rented a car July 17 in Addison, Texas, and when it was returned at 9 a.m. July 19 it had 1,920 new miles on it.
The friend's employer indicated he clocked in July 17 and 18, but the rented car was captured on video at 2:33 a.m. July 18 for a toll violation at Interstate 355 and Boughton Road in Bolingbrook. The friend also received numerous calls during that time from a prepaid cellphone that was purchased July 16 in Texas, the search warrant stated.
In a sworn affidavit, an investigator says he believes the prepaid phone traveled from Texas to the Chicago area between July 16 and July 18.
Schmelzer was being held on $5 million bail and faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted. He is next due in court Oct. 16.