A Nebraska family expresses relief and a desire for justice as Mississippi authorities report they have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of a Raymond, Nebraska man.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety reports 28-year-old James Willie has been arrested in connection with the death of 74-year-old Thomas Schlender, a retired Lincoln Electric System employee. Willie is also a suspect in the shooting death of 48-year-old Lori Carswell of Hernando, MS, also shot to death at the side of an interstate in northern Mississippi.
The department reports the break in the case came after a woman reported she had been raped in Tunica, located in northern Mississippi. Police arrested Willie and discovered a gun that matched the weapon used to kill both Schlender and Carswell.
Matt Anderson, Schlender’s son-in-law, said the family has been in contact with Mississippi authorities. Anderson said the family has gone through a range of emotions since learning of the arrest and has conveyed to authorities in Mississippi that they simply want justice applied in the case.
Authorities found Schlender shot to death in his pick-up on a deserted stretch of I-55 in northern Mississippi in the early morning hours of May 8th. He had been traveling from Raymond to Pensacola, FL to pick up one of his grandsons from college. Three nights later, Carswell was found dead of similar means.
Authorities first suspected someone who had been impersonating a police officer in the killings. They dropped the theory upon the arrest of Willie. They believe robbery is the likely motive in the shootings.