Former Florida detective charged in 1999 Jacksonville murder

A retired Florida detective has been arrested in a 1999 fatal home invasion, authorities announced Thursday.

William Robert Baer Jr., 64, was arrested in Jacksonville on Wednesday and charged with murder and armed robbery, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Pat Ivey said during a news conference. Baer’s former wife, Melissa Jo Schafer, was arrested Thursday in Jefferson City, Missouri, in connection to the case, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Baer and Schafer fatally attacked Saad Kawaf outside his gated community home in May 1999, officials said. They then dragged Kawaf’s wife inside and tied her up. Baer and Schafer made off with about $30,000, officials said.

Baer had been an intelligence division detective at the time of the attack, and Ivey said Baer met the victim, a convenience store owner, through work. Baer retired in 2002.

Investigators initially knew the attackers were a man and woman, and DNA profiles were developed in 2003. State law enforcement tests for genealogy helped narrow down the search this past May, and two suspects were identified last month, Ivey said.

Baer was being held without bond. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Schafer hadn’t been returned to Jacksonville jail by Thursday evening. It wasn’t known if she had an attorney.