NOVI (WWJ) – An ex-con who served time for murder has been taken into custody in connection with the death of an elderly Novi woman.
Police said the 84-year-old, Bernice Schaufele, was found around 2:45 p.m. Monday inside her home in the 20900 block of West Glen Haven Circle at the Country Place condominium complex, located near 8 Mile and Meadowbrook roads. The woman’s body was discovered by one of her daughters after she failed to show up for a doctor’s appointment.
Authorities said Schaufele’s injuries are consistent with a homicide, but declined to elaborate. An autopsy is expected to be performed Tuesday.
Police Chief David Molloy told WWJ’s Mike Campbell that shortly into the investigation, they identified a person of interest — the woman’s 46-year-old neighbor who previously served time in jail for murder.
“There was a person who was walking around the building, and one of our uniformed officers identified and had asked some questions. We talked to that individual and actually brought him back (to the station) for questioning and then about 9 o’clock Monday, we placed him under arrest,” Molloy said.
Investigators worked through the night and executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home early Tuesday morning. During the search, police found valuables they believe were stolen from the victim’s residence.
“It’s a multi-family dwelling where you have about four condominiums per building, and he lived on the other side of where hers was at. So, they kind of lived on opposite sides of one another,” Molloy said. “When we executed the search warrant there, we found several items which connect him to the crime scene.”
Investigators anticipate filing an arrest warrant request on all applicable charges with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. Molloy said an arraignment could come as early as Wednesday for the suspect, who has a lengthy rap sheet.
“I don’t know all of it, but I know he’s been incarcerated for murder before. He just recently moved to the area, anywhere between two and five months ago, and we’re trying to nail that down on how long he has actually lived there with his mother and his sister in this condo,” he said.
The incident remains under investigation. Police are asking anyone who might have information to contact investigators at 248-348-7100. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.