DELTONA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Police in Virginia say they have solved a 14-year-old double-murder case that had gone cold, resulting in the arrest of a Central Florida man.
Christopher Schmidt, 46, of Deltona, Florida, faces charges in an investigation into the fatal shootings of his estranged wife, Lois Schmidt, and her 7-year-old son, Jonathan Vetrano. In 2004, Virginia Beach Police discovered the bodies of the mother and son inside their home, which had been set on fire.
Schmidt is only charged with one of the murders, but authorities did not say which one. Another man, Richard Stoner, 43, of Logansport, Indiana, is also charged with murder in this case.
Crime scene investigators on Tuesday looked for evidence in Schmidt's Deltona home, where they say he had been living in as a fugitive. Neighbors say they never had a clue.
"I'm shocked! I thought he was a nice person," says resident Brianna Heredia. "Completely shocked!"
Another neighbor, who did not want to be named, says Schmidt was arrested on Monday night outside his home.
"We saw a man on the ground, didn't know it was him at first, then we realized, oh my God, that's Chris! And there's probably around 10 guys around him with guns drawn. They cuffed him."
She says he was a good neighbor but didn't know how he made a living.
"He said something about a worker's compensation injury and said something about going to school for nursing. I can't believe it, he was so nice. A quick-to-smile guy, laughed at everything."
"Bad people can portray themselves as good neighbors, definitely something scary," says resident Jason Baker.
He and his wife, Anna, think about all the children who live on this block and their safety. They say the bus stop is near Schmidt's home.
"Between us and that bus stop, a potential monster," Baker adds. "That's dangerous you never know who's your neighbor."
Neighbors say Schmidt has a teenaged daughter, and they're concerned about her welfare. Police want to extradite Schmidt back to Virginia Beach, but no further details were immediately released.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office confirmed with Fox 35 that they are conducting a search Thursday and Friday in the area of Blackwedler Road, DeLeon Springs, in connection to this case.