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Charles and Grace Lewis -- Police Search For Missing Bonne Terre Couple (1993)

Charles and Grace Lewis -- Police Search For Missing Bonne Terre Couple (1993)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:32PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Lewis, Bullock,
POLICE SEARCH FOR BONNE TERRE COUPLE

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sunday, September 26, 1993

Author: By Carolyn Tuft ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Police searched by helicopter Saturday for a rural Bonne Terre, Mo., couple missing since Tuesday. The woman's last words on the phone to her daughter were: "I hear some gunshots outside; I have to go."

The daughter thought nothing of her mother's comment; gunshots are common in the rural area, said St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock.

The couple - Charles Lewis , 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, were reported missing Wednesday by the daughter when they failed to pick her up as promised.

Bullock said when police visited the Lewises' 460-acre farm, they found an unlocked door, lights left burning, a purse containing cash on the table, a pot of soaking beans sitting on the stove and Grace Lewis' numerous prescription medicines.

The couple's 1988 white GMC 4-wheel drive pickup with a camper shell was missing. The pickup's license plate number is MJ8-763.

Before the disappearance "there was no indication of problems. They were in town at the grocery store and the pharmacy," Bullock said. "Some neighbors saw them driving home in their car, honking and waving like they normally do."

Police have combed the farm on foot, and a Highway Patrol helicopter crew searched the area on Saturday.

"Just to add to our dilemma, torrential rains washed all our hopes to find tire tracks or footprints away, even if there were any," Bullock said. "We're really puzzled about this one."

Police ask anyone with information to call 756-3252 or 431-5544.

Charles Lewis is about 5 feet 10 inches, 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Grace Lewis is about 5 feet 6 inches, 140 pounds, with black hair and blue eyes.

Disappearance of Couple Has Investigators Baffled (1993)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:37PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Lewis, Bullock,
DISAPPEARANCE OF COUPLE HAS INVESTIGATORS BAFFLED

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Friday, October 8, 1993

Author: By Kim Bell ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

More than two weeks after a couple vanished from their rural Bonne Terre, Mo., farmhouse, police say the trail of clues has run cold.

Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, were reported missing Sept. 22 when they failed to pick up one of their daughters as promised.

The evening before, Grace Lewis abruptly ended a telephone conversation with that daughter by saying she heard gunshots outside.

"One of our problems is, we don't have very much to go on," said St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock. "There was hardly any evidence at the crime scene."

Authorities aren't even sure what type of crime they have on their hands. Police are classifying it as a missing persons case but aren't ruling out anything.

"We suspect foul play, but we have very little evidence to back that up," Bullock said. "My gut feeling is, they've been abducted and removed from the farm."

At the couple's house on their 460-acre farm, police found an unplugged telephone, Grace Lewis' purse containing $295 and several bottles of prescription medicine.

The couple's 1988 white GMC 4-wheel drive pickup is still missing. The license plate number is MJ8-763. The pickup had a camper shell, but police think it might have been removed. Bullock said the missing pickup is one clue that Grace Lewis did not leave the farm willingly.

"Mrs. Lewis didn't ride in the truck, she had arthritis so bad she couldn't climb up into it," he said.

Police ask anyone with information to call 756-3252 or 431-5544.

First Solid Lead -- Pickup Found (1993)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:43PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Lewis, Bullock, Cooper, Schmaltz,
OFFICIALS HOPE PICKUP WILL AID IN SEARCH OF MISSING COUPLE - CHILDREN OF BONNE TERRE PAIR FRUSTRATED BY MYSTERY

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Monday, November 1, 1993

Author: By Bill Bryan ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Authorities hope the recovery of a missing couple's burned pickup will help solve the mystery of their disappearance nearly six weeks ago.

But finding the truck over the weekend did little to ease the worst fears and frustrations of their children. "The vehicle is our first solid lead," St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said Sunday. Bullock has been investigating the disappearance of Charles Lewis, 67, and his wife, Grace Lewis, 62, since they vanished from their farmhouse near Bonne Terre on Sept. 21.

"We suspected foul play from the beginning, and now this re-enforces it," Bullock said.

When authorities visited the Lewis' 460-acre farm after a daughter reported them missing, they found a door unlocked, lights left burning, a purse containing cash on the table, a pot of soaking beans sitting on the stove and Grace Lewis' numerous prescription medicines. The only things awry were an unplugged telephone, a bullet hole in the side of the house and the couple's missing VCR and 1988 white GMC 4-wheel drive pickup.

A man scouting for deer found the pickup Saturday afternoon in a wooded area about 200 yards off Highway T, between Highway A and Route 185, in Washington County, about 75 miles southwest of St. Louis. The site is about 30 miles northwest of the Lewis' farmhouse. "Whoever left the truck here obviously was trying to hide it," Bullock said.

An inflammable liquid had been poured inside the cab of the pickup and ignited. Bullock said he had no idea how long the truck had been in the secluded spot.

Bullock and a team of about 35 that included his deputies, Washington County sheriff's deputies and volunteers combed the thick woods Sunday looking for other evidence linked to the Lewis' disappearance.

Among the volunteers were three of the Lewis' five children. "Finding the truck is a start, and I guess it limits the search," said Karen Cooper, 22, one of the Lewises' three daughters. "But the worst is still not knowing what happened."

Another daughter, Mary Schmaltz, 27, said the children are still clinging to the hope that their parents are alive. "It's a scary hope, though, because you wonder if they're suffering if they are alive."

Cooper added: "You almost hope selfishly that they're in heaven."

A son, Michael Lewis, 30, said he, too, was frustrated. "There's nothing you can put your finger on to explain any of this," he said.

"There's no reason for them to be kidnapped. They had a large farm, but not that much money and they weren't robbed. They had no enemies that I know of."

Mystery Taunts Townsfolk -- Couple Disappeared Three Months Ago

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:49PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Lewis, Johnson, Bullock, Schmaltz, Cooper,
MYSTERY TAUNTS TOWNSFOLK - COUPLE DISAPPEARED THREE MONTHS AGO

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sunday, December 19, 1993

Author: (AP)

Each night before Neoma Johnson goes to sleep, she recites the rosary, meditating not only on the religious mysteries but also on what might have happened to her neighbors who vanished nearly three months ago.

"I've read detective stories all my life, so I know a lot of wild things happen. But I've still got faith that they might be alive," said Johnson, 93.

A quarter-mile stretch of oak and pine trees separates her home from the 460-acre farm where Charles and Grace Lewis were spending their retirement. The Lewises - he's 67, she's 62 - have disappeared.

They were last heard from Sept. 21. Their pickup was found Oct. 30, partly burned in deep woods about 30 miles away.

"This one is baffling," says St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock.

"There are just too many questions that don't have answers. Why are they missing? If someone came and they didn't kill them or hurt them, why take them away from the farm? Someone evidently doesn't want us to find them. And robbery is not the motive."

Grace Lewis ' purse, with $300 in it, was left on the kitchen table, along with the medication she must take regularly for Lyme disease and arthritis. Antiques and electronic equipment were in place. There was no sign of a struggle.

Authorities know that the couple's daughter, Mary Schmaltz, was on the phone with her mother at 4:17 p.m. on Sept. 21 when their conversation was interrupted. Grace Lewis said, "I've got to go now," and referred to what she thought might have been gunshots from the yard, where her husband was working.

Because their farm sits in prime hunting ground, Schmaltz didn't worry.

The next night, however, the Lewises were to meet another daughter in Farmington for dinner and didn't show.

Schmaltz drove to their house and found the lights on and the back door unlocked. The living room telephone had been unplugged but not the basement phone. A pot of beans soaked on the stove.

The only items apparently missing were a six-pack of root beer, two 5-gallon cans of gasoline, a videocassette recorder and several spare keys.

Schmaltz called police and the rest of the family, and the search began. Dozens of police officers and volunteers have scoured the farm and surrounding countryside. Hundreds of tips have been checked.

Gully-washing rains hit St. Francois County shortly before authorities were called, so evidence could have been lost, Bullock said.

The sheriff, who has 14 years of law-enforcement experience, said he's had many sleepless nights because of the case.

"You just get so involved that you'll think of something in your sleep, and then you'll sit up the rest of the night trying to figure out what it means," he said.

Sleep has been light elsewhere as thoughts of what might have happened to the Lewises weigh on neighbors, family and friends.

The farm belonged to Grace Lewis' family, and the couple had used it for weekend getaways for 18 or 19 years. When Charles Lewis retired from a St. Louis accounting firm eight years ago, they moved there.

Although many of the houses along Old Cadet Road are separated by pastures and rugged terrain, neighbors say they are close. They smile as they talk of how Grace Lewis, whose hands were knotted from arthritis, often arrived with jars of freshly canned green beans.

Her husband, a heavyset, jovial man who loved to putter on his farm, served as lay minister at the Cedar Fork Methodist Church near Perryville.

Neighbors know the couple's children: Charles Lewis IV, 42, of Ellisville; Mike Lewis, 30, of Overland; Schmaltz, 27, of Barnhart; Susan Lewis, 26, of Farmington; and Karen Cooper, 22, a student in Columbia, Mo.

The family has been touched by an outpouring of support, Schmaltz said. On weekends, the family, neighbors and friends tramp through woods, checking leads sheriff's deputies already have followed.

They've filled two notebooks with information, but they still have no solid clues.

Dozens of plastic-covered paper fliers with a snapshot of the couple sitting on a couch are nailed to trees along the road leading to the farm.

As time passes, the children are losing hope of seeing their parents alive. Some simply want an end to the case.

"The not knowing is really the hardest part," Schmaltz said. "We do hope they're alive, but then we wonder what kind of condition they must be in. It's just awful."

For now, the Lewises' five children and eight grandchildren are trying to maintain family traditions. They spent a recent Saturday singing Christmas carols and drinking eggnog. They cut a tree from the farm and decorated it in the Lewis' home because that's what their parents would have wanted.

Instead of red ribbon, however, the metal gate across the Lewises' lane is wrapped in yellow - a symbol of hope.

VCR May Be Link To Missing Couple (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:52PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Lewis, Conway, Crump
VCR MAY BE LINK TO MISSING COUPLE

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Monday, September 12, 1994

The Missouri Highway Patrol is offering a reward for information about a Goldstar videocassette recorder that belonged to a missing couple from Bonne Terre , Mo .

Charles and Grace Lewis disappeared from their home in Bonne Terre on Sept. 21, 1993. The missing VCR may have been purchased by an unsuspecting person through a flea market, garage sale or in a similar manner, authorities say. The location of the VCR may help the investigation.

A substantial reward is available for any information leading to the location of the Lewis family, authorities said. Anyone with information about the VCR should contact Sgt. William Conway and Sgt. Joseph Crump at (314) 340-4000 or 4061.

The VCR is model GVH 1265 M. The serial number is 90303027 K.

Bodies Found Are Apparently Those of Missing Couple (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 9:57PM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Lewis, St. Clair,
BODIES FOUND ARE APPARENTLY THOSE OF MISSING COUPLE

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Saturday, September 17, 1994

Author: By Joe Holleman and Fred W. Lindecke; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Acting on an anonymous telephone tip, police found two bodies Friday believed to be those of Charles and Grace Lewis, who disappeared from their Bonne Terre, Mo., farm home a year ago.

Sgt. Terry St. Clair of the Missouri Highway Patrol said police were "pretty positive" the bodies were those of the Lewises because they were found on a farm in Washington County in a location identified by two suspects arrested Thursday night as a result of the tip.

The two suspects - a man and his 17-year-old nephew - were being held in Farmington pending filing of charges while police searched for a third suspect, who is the father of the youth, St. Clair said.

The bodies were found in a shallow grave, wrapped in a plastic tarpaulin, on a farm in a secluded area about 10 miles north of Potosi in Washington County, St. Clair said.

Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, disappeared Sept. 21 from their home on their farm near Bonne Terre in St. Francois County.

In custody were a Washington County man, in his late 30s to early 40s, and his 17-year-old nephew, a St. Louis County resident who used to reside in Washington County, St. Clair said.

The father of the youth fled into woods around the Washington County farmhouse when the two others were arrested Thursday night, St. Clair said. The anonymous telephone call was made to the Potosi Police Department.

Officers from the Highway Patrol, the sheriff's departments of Washington and St. Francois counties and a crime scene team from the FBI were at the farm Friday gathering evidence.

St. Clair said positive identification of the bodies would be determined by a medical examiner. He said other evidence taken from the grave would be sent to an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va.

Investigators had been stymied in the case. Grace Lewis had been talking to a daughter on the telephone when she abruptly ended the conversation by saying she heard gunshots outside. The woman's last words on the telephone to her daughter were: "I hear some gunshots outside; I have to go."

The Lewises were reported missing the next day when they failed to pick up another daughter as promised. When authorities visited their farm, they found a door unlocked, lights left burning, a purse containing cash on the table, a pot of soaking beans sitting on the stove and Grace Lewis ' numerous prescription medicines.

The only things awry were an unplugged telephone, a bullet hole in the side of the house and the couple's missing VCR and 1988 white GMC 4-wheel-drive pickup.

The truck was found about a month later, partly burned in deep woods in Washington County, about 30 miles northwest of the Lewises' home.

The farm where the bodies were found Friday is about 15 miles east of where the truck was found and about 10 miles north of the Lewises' home.

Two Arrested In Search for St. Francois County Couple (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 10:01PM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Lewis, St. Clair,
2 ARRESTED IN SEARCH FOR ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY COUPLE

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Saturday, September 17, 1994

Author: By Joe Holleman ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Investigators have arrested two suspects and were searching a farm in northeastern Washington County in connection with the disappearance a year ago of a St. Francois County couple.

Authorities said they believed the bodies of the couple, Charles and Grace Lewis, could be buried on the farm, about 10 miles north of Potosi, Mo ., said Sgt. Terry St. Clair of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, disappeared Sept. 21 from home on their 460-acre farm near Bonne Terre, Mo .

In custody are a Washington County man, in his late 30s to early 40s, and his 17-year-old nephew, a St. Louis County resident who used to live in Washington County, St. Clair said. Police are looking for a third suspect, the father of the teen-ager, who lives in Washington County, St. Clair said.

Officers from the Highway Patrol, the sheriff's departments of Washington and St. Francois counties and a crime scene team from the FBI were at the farm Friday looking for the bodies and other evidence.

The arrests and the search were spurred by a tip Thursday from an anonymous caller to the Potosi Police Department.

Investigators had been stymied in the case, which began on the night of Sept. 21 when Grace Lewis was talking to a daughter on the telephone. She abruptly ended the conversation by saying she heard gunshots outside. The woman's last words on the phone to her daughter were: "I hear some gunshots outside; I have to go."

The Lewises were reported missing the next day when they failed to pick up another daughter as promised. When authorities visited their farm, they found a door unlocked, lights left burning, a purse containing cash on the table, a pot of soaking beans sitting on the stove and Grace Lewis ' numerous prescription medicines.

The only things awry were an unplugged telephone, a bullet hole in the side of the house and the couple's missing VCR and 1988 white GMC 4-wheel-drive pickup.

The truck was found about a month later, partly burned in deep woods in Washington County, about 30 miles northwest of the Lewises' home.

The farm being searched Friday is about 15 miles east of where the truck was found and about 10 miles north of the Lewises' home.

Police Seek 3rd Person In Killings (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 10:04PM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Lewis, Rousan, St. Clair, Harmon,
POLICE SEEK 3RD PERSON IN KILLINGS

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sunday, September 18, 1994

Author: By Virgil Tipton ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The woman who owns the farm in Washington County where two bodies were discovered Friday is the girlfriend - or former girlfriend - of a fugitive wanted for questioning in the case, police said Saturday.

The fugitive, identified as William Rousan, 38, could have fled to another state or could have stayed in the area, said Sgt. Terry St. Clair of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Police believe the bodies are those of Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, who disappeared from their home in Bonne Terre a year ago.

Two men are already in custody: Robert Rousan, 25, of St. Francois County - who is William Rousan's brother - and a 17-year-old youth.

Police did not release the teen's name.

The two in custody have implicated William Rousan in the murder of the Lewises, St. Clair said.

St. Francois County authorities on Saturday charged Robert Rousan with two counts of second-degree murder. He was being held Saturday evening in the St. Francois County jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

St. Clair said the 17-year-old was in custody of juvenile authorities; he had not been charged. The teen was 16 when the Lewises disappeared, so he is being treated as a juvenile offender until he's certified to stand trial as an adult, St. Clair said.

Meanwhile, a pathologist was performing an autopsy on the bodies at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center. Police had not yet formally identified the bodies as the Lewises, but "we are very certain from what we've seen," said Washington County Sheriff Chris Harmon.

The Lewises disappeared Sept. 21, 1993, from their home. They had last been heard from the night before, when Grace Lewis was talking to a daughter on the telephone. She said: "I hear some gunshots outside. I have to go." Then she hung up.

Police said they're not sure of a motive. A year ago, they speculated that it could have been a botched burglary.

Police discovered the bodies early Friday, acting on a telephone tip. Washington County Sheriff Chris Harmon said the informer was not one of the three suspects.

The farm is at the end of a winding gravel road miles from any major highways, near Old Mines, Mo . When police arrived Friday morning, William Rousan apparently climbed out a window and fled into woods behind the home, St. Clair said.

"He saw the cars coming and he realized they probably wanted to do business with him," St. Clair said.

William Rousan should be considered armed and dangerous, St. Clair said. "I don't think I'd take any chances with this guy," St. Clair said.

Tip Leads To 3rd Suspects' Arrest (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 10:08PM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Lewis, Rousan, Seibert, Harmon,
TIP LEADS TO ARREST IN COUPLE'S SLAYING

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Wednesday, September 21, 1994

Author: By Joe Holleman and Donald E. Franklin; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

An anonymous tip has led to the arrest of a third suspect wanted in the killing of a couple from Bonne Terre , Mo . The man, William Louis Rousan, was captured Tuesday afternoon when he tried to flee from a barn in nearby Washington County.

Rousan, 38, of rural Bonne Terre , was charged earlier Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder in the killing of Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62. He was being held without bond Tuesday night at the Washington County Jail in Potosi.

Capt. William K. Seibert Jr., commander of Troop C of the Missouri Highway Patrol, said Rousan was arrested about 5 p.m. near Leadwood, Mo .

Rousan was carrying a knife and a .22-caliber rifle but didn't try to use them, officials said.

The officers located Rousan after Washington County sheriff's deputies learned from an anonymous caller that he was hiding in a barn. Rousan fled from the barn when officers from the Highway Patrol and sheriff's deputies from Washington and St. Francois counties approached. He was arrested after a short chase on foot.

Meanwhile, police have recovered two guns from a farm near Old Mines, Mo., where two bodies - believed to be those of the Lewises - were found last week.

Washington County Sheriff Chris Harmon said that one of the guns is believed to be the weapon used to kill the Lewises, who disappeared last Sept. 21 from their home near Bonne Terre .

Harmon said a positive identification of the bodies still awaits the results of forensic tests.

Harmon also said that jewelry belonging to the Lewis family has been found on the farm. Some of the items were engraved with the Lewises' names, Harmon said.

The items include a lighter, a man's watch with Charles Lewis' name on it; a necklace medallion with "Chuck" on it; and a charm bracelet with the names and birthdates of the Lewises' children.

Robert L. Rousan, 25, of near Bonne Terre has been charged with second-degree murder and burglary and is being held at the St. Francois County Jail on $1 million bond. A 17-year-old also is in custody. Robert Rousan and William Rousan are brothers.

Authorities said the teen was a juvenile when the crime happened and will be treated as a juvenile unless he is certified to stand trial as an adult.

300 Friends and Relatives Gather To Say Goodbye to Charles and Grace Lewis (1994)

Posted: 27 Nov 2011 10:13PM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Lewis, Rousan, Lohse, Cooper,
`SOMETIMES, LIVING RIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP ILL FATE AWAY'

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sunday, September 25, 1994

Author: By Martha Shirk ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Members of Centenary United Methodist Church in Bonne Terre had been praying for Charles and Grace Lewis ever since they disappeared from their 460-acre farm just over a year ago.

"Pray for the Lewis family," the church's announcement board has urged townspeople the entire time.

Saturday, eight days after the couple's bodies were found, 300 friends and relatives gathered in the church to say goodbye. According to the two ministers who conducted the funeral, as well as a dozen friends and relatives who rose up to share memories, the Lewises were a remarkable couple.

"Sometimes, living right is not enough to keep ill fate away from us," said the Rev. Scott Lohse, the church's pastor. "No one has lived more rightly than Chuck and Grace Lewis . We are grieved, and we don't understand."

The bodies of Charles Lewis, 67, and Grace Lewis, 62, were found in shallow graves on a farm near Old Mines, in Washington County, on Sept. 16. They had been shot to death. The Lewises had been last seen on Sept. 21, 1993.

Three people were arrested earlier this month in connection with the couple's killings. Brothers William Rousan, 38, and Robert Rousan, 35, both of St. Francois County, are in custody, each charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

A 17-year-old relative of the Rousans, who was 16 when the murders were committed, is in a juvenile detention center, awaiting a hearing to determine whether he should be prosecuted as an adult.

The Lewises had eight children, three of whom are dead. Four of their surviving children attended the funeral. The fifth, Charles Lewis Jr., of South Padre Island, Texas, is estranged from the family.

Karen Cooper, one of the couple's three daughters, told the mourners that she was praying for her parents' murderers.

At the front of the church, a memorial tribute to the couple included family photos dating back 40 years. At the top of the display were their vanity license plates. Lohse said that Charles Lewis had chosen "Goin Up" to proclaim his faith in an afterlife, and Grace Lewis had chosen "No 92" because it was the page in the old Methodist hymnal on which "Amazing Grace," her favorite hymn, appeared.

Mourners sang all five verses of "Amazing Grace," plus an improvised sixth one, to end the funeral.
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