Cumberland Times-News

October 2, 2013

Man faces murder charge in woman’s disappearance

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A 44-year-old city man was arrested Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the Sept. 5 disappearance of 43-year-old Lisa Simmons, according to the C3I Unit.

The Browning Street resident who was last seen at her job at the downtown McDonald’s has not been found, police said.

Stephen George Schleuniger of 27 Browning St. was jailed without bond Tuesday afternoon at the Allegany County Detention Center after he was taken into custody on a warrant that was issued Monday in district court.

Schleuniger was arrested at an undisclosed location in Berkeley County, W.Va., by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, according to State’s Attorney Michael Twigg.

Schleuniger waived extradition and was returned to Allegany County immediately following the arrest, Twigg said.

Schleuniger was also charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

According to the C3I Unit,  Cumberland Police met with the family at Simmons’ Browning Street residence  Sept. 10 as part of the investigation.

At that time, what was believed to be bloody footprints were discovered on the front porch leading from the residence.

Cumberland Police requested the assistance of the C3I Unit based on the suspicious nature of Simmons’ disappearance.

C3I detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence where they discovered an area of the rug in the front room that appeared to have been recently cleaned and was still wet.

A large stain on the underside of the rug and on the floor beneath the rug tested positive for the presence of blood.

The scene was processed by crime scene technicians with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division.

Interviews of neighbors and friends determined that there had been a physical confrontation between Schleuniger, who was Simmons live-in boyfriend, and Simmons soon after her arrival home from work on Sept. 5.

Neighbors heard Simmons yelling for help before becoming quiet.

They saw what they believed to be Schleuniger kicking, or “stomping,” something through the front window, according to C3I.

The blood stain was located in the same area where the confrontation occurred.

Investigators obtained and served several additional search warrants.

A pair of shoes that appeared to match the prints on the front porch was recovered from the truck that Schleuniger, who is a truck driver, was driving. What appeared to be blood was discovered on top of the shoes and on the sole of the shoes.

Evidence was forwarded to the Maryland State Police Crime Lab where DNA analysis indicated that the blood on the shoes and the blood found in the rug matched the known DNA profile of the victim, police said.

Although Simmons’ body has not been recovered, based on the fact that all possible means of locating her have been exhausted, the large amount of blood found in the residence and the lab analysis of that evidence, investigators believe that Simmons is dead and obtained an arrest warrant for Schleuniger.

Anyone with information about the case is being asked to contact Cumberland Police at 301-777-1600 or the C3I Unit at 301-777-0326.

Callers to Allegany/Mineral County Crime Solvers at 301-722-4300 may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,500 for information leading to a conviction in this case.

The investigation is continuing by Cumberland Police and C3I.    

Former employees of the Joseph D. Brandenburg Center will hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday for their co-worker, Simmons. The vigil will take place at 7 p.m. at the Liberty Street stage downtown.