March 26, 2011
SCHAEFERS KILLED WITH MYSTERIOUS GUN,
GBI DESTROYS EVIDENCE, CLOSES "SUICIDE" CASE
THE GBI INVESTIGATION
It has been exactly a year since former Georgia State Senator, Nancy Schaefer, and her husband Bruce, were found shot to death in their bedroom. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) completed its work in December and recently made the case file summary available under Georgia Open Records Request laws. The case file summary confirmed the GBIs original murder-suicide conclusion that Bruce Schaefer shot Nancy and then killed himself. The conclusion was based primarily on extensive suicide notes that contained specific instructions to the family and could have only been produced by Bruce or someone with first-hand knowledge of the family. There were also no visible signs of forced entry. The hand printed notes that were found in the bedroom indicated that financial problems were a motive. The investigation, signed by Special Agent Brian Whidby, also confirmed that Bruce, who was 74, had recently visited two funeral homes in the area. All of these findings were already reported or kown within days of the Schaefer's deaths on March 26, 2010.
THE MURDER WEAPON
The findings in the case file would be highly convincing except for one major problem never before reported. The Schaefers were not killed with the small caliper gun that the family knew they owned. They were killed with a higher caliper, untraceable weapon that no family member had ever seen before. The weapon was originally shipped to a dealer in a remote part of southern Florida in 1982 and the ownership records have since been destroyed, possibly as a result of a natural disaster. The case file was unable to establish how the Schaefers, who lived in Georgia during the 1980s, acquired the murder weapon. It also contains no explanation as to why Bruce would not use the gun he already owned to commit the crime, but instead acquire another gun that just happened to be untraceable.
THE AUTOPSY REPORT
The GBI autopsy report found that the wounds of Bruce Schaefer were consistent with a suicide finding but the report was unable to rule out the possibility that he was murdered. The autopsy report and initial investigative case summary did not find any difference in the times of death for the couple. They imply that that the times of death were the same, which is a virtual impossibility. The notes show that Bruce wrote them after shooting Nancy and it would have taken hours for him to write and assemble the material for the notes before he shot himself.
THE SUICIDE NOTES
The final investigative summary cites the extensive, detailed suicide notes found at the scene as the most overwhelming evidence of suicide. But the case file shows that the GBI performed no handwriting analysis to authenticate those printed notes as originating from Bruce Schaefer. The multi-page, extensive suicide notes are also strange in the sense that there is no mention of the 13 grandchildren who Bruce loved so much. There are also oddities in the financial information included in the notes.
THE ALLEGED FINANCIAL MOTIVE
The suicide notes contain a foreclosure letter and precise details for settlements involving over $25K of credit card debt, but they provide little or no information on the Schaefers' assets and income. Although containing many other instructions there are no instructions on how to liquidate any retirement accounts, stock investments or uncollateralized property that the Schaefers owned. Only a couple of insurance policies are present but it is unclear what value, if any, that they would have in a murder-suicide. The Schaefers already had put their house on the market and showed virtually no concern about any pending foreclosure right up until the night before their death. They still had roughly $100,000 of equity in the home even after reducing the sale price. They were advised by one of their sons, who is in the real estate business, that it was unlikely they would lose the house.
Most Georgians are unaware that the metro Atlanta area has been nationally ranked as the largest center in the country for child sex trafficking. Most are also unaware that Sen. Schaefer was a national leader in the fight against related child abuse and perversion in government run, Child Protective Services (CPS). The GBI was repeatedly informed that Nancy was wrapping up a video documentary, a possible book and other supporting references on the subject. She told friends that this work would expose corruption in Georgia's Department of Family and Child Services (DFACS) and that several high profile, powerful Georgia politicians would be implicated. These people would have the means and incentive to prevent her work from being produced. While the GBI documented case inquiries from the general public there is no documentation of the inquiries received from government officials.
The GBI collected little information about the work that Nancy Schaefer had done. They interviewed only one person who was involved in helping to produce the video documentary. They did not obtain a copy of the video or interview its producer, William Fain. They also did not attempt to retrieve the documentary from the producer even though the Schaefers had arranged funding for the video and the producer was not necessarily entitled to ownership rights.