ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida authorities have used DNA to identify a woman who died in 2010 as the alleged killer of a man found beaten and robbed outside a library in 1997.
Michael Scheumeister, 45, was found dead the morning of Aug. 14, 1997, outside Mirror Lake Library in St. Petersburg, according to police. He was found lying on his back with his pants pockets turned inside out.
“He had cashed his paycheck earlier that day and his money and wallet were missing,” St. Petersburg police officials said. “The medical examiner’s report determined that the cause of death was due to blunt force trauma to the head and neck.”
Detectives learned that Scheumeister had been having drinks with a woman named Patricia Morris at a bar the night before he was killed. Morris, then 46, had an extensive criminal history, including charges of prostitution, battery on a police officer and drug charges.
“During an interview with a detective, Morris admitted to having drinks with the victim that night and leaving in a taxi together, but she stated the two went their separate ways after being dropped off by the taxi,” authorities said.
At the time, investigators did not have enough evidence to arrest Morris for Scheumeister’s death. Morris died in Hillsborough County in September 2010.
Earlier this year, cold case detectives took another look at the evidence in the case and resubmitted Scheumeister’s pants to the Pinellas County forensics lab for further DNA testing.
On Nov. 2, detectives received a response from the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, that there was a match to the DNA profile obtained from the clothing.
The DNA found on the inside of the front and rear pant pockets of Scheumeister’s pants belonged to Morris.
“Based on the recent DNA evidence and prior investigations, this case is now considered closed with the death of the offender,” authorities said. “The victim’s brother was notified.”
A police statement said cold case detectives dedicate their time and experience to bring a resolution to unsolved cases, no matter how old they are.
“With advances in technology and new information, they can bring justice for the victims and closure to their families,” the statement read.
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