JSO: Former detective, then-wife arrested in 1999 fatal stabbing in Deerwood area – WOKV

Posted: July 4, 2020 at 3:46 pm

The Jacksonville Sheriffs Office says one of its former detectives and his then-wife have been arrested in connection into a 1999 murder.

Undersheriff Pat Ivey says the case involved the May 17, 1999, stabbing of 39-year-old Saad Kawaf in the Deerwood/Baymeadows area.

To give a basic rundown of the incident is, the victim along with his wife, in those morning hours were approached by a white male and white female suspect, in which the victim was stabbed multiple times and succumbed to his injuries. The female victim was tied up and approximately $30,000 in funds, cash, was stolen, explains Ivey.

At the time, Ivey said the only information on the suspects was that they were a white man and a white woman.

In 2003, Ivey says two DNA profiles were developed. Then in May 2020, he says further genetic testing led to the development of profiles that gave indications of who the suspects were.

Ultimately, in June 2020, Ivey says the FDLE was able to provide detectives with the names of the potential suspects.

It turns out that your suspect was indeed William Robert Baer Jr., white male, 64 years of age, who was a retired Jacksonville Sheriffs Office police officer and his then-wife, Melissa Shafer, white female, 50 years of age, says Ivey.

Ivey says Baer was arrested Wednesday night in Jacksonville, Florida, while Shafer was arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri, on Thursday afternoon.

Ivey says Baer was an active intelligence unit detective with JSO at the time of the murder and that his initial contact with Kawaf stemmed directly from his assignment with the sheriff's office.

Baer started with JSO in 1975 and retired in 2002, according to Ivey.

Were told that the two were arrested without incident.

The family of Kawaf released a statement to our partner Action News Jax following the arrests:

We are thrilled. We are grateful. Not a day has gone by that we dont miss our beloved Saad. The past 21 years have been the hardest to not only be without a man who meant so much to our family but to know that the people who did this were not held accountable for their actions. We are grateful to the brave members of the cold case unit and all members of law enforcement who have worked tirelessly on our behalf to ensure justice and that Saads memory will never be forgotten.

Heather Kayal - Victims Niece

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JSO: Former detective, then-wife arrested in 1999 fatal stabbing in Deerwood area - WOKV

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