COLUMBIA — With three homicides reported within a week of one another, it's been a tough September for Callaway County so far.
Mike Wieberg, 56, and his daughter, Amanda Wieberg, 33, were found dead on Sept. 2 in Mike Wieberg's burned-down mobile home near Auxvasse, according to previous Missourian reports. Autopsies showed the two died before the fire began.
On Sept. 8, Debra Bates, 54, was found dead in her Millersburg home. An autopsy performed the following day showed Bates had been killed about 12 hours before she was found. But Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane said he would not release details about how she was killed.
Crane said investigators don't believe the two incidents are connected, a conclusion he said authorities drew when they began investigating Bates' death.
But he said the proximity in dates of the unrelated killings was rare for the area.
"For Callaway County, I would not call this a norm," he said. "I don't recall this happening in any recent time."
Crane did say the county "is not immune from anything," citing the Oct. 26, 2010, triple homicide near Holts Summit in which Joshua Maylee was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault.
Eugene Allen Pinet, 48; his wife, Jackie, 57; and Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, were shot to death in that incident. Werdehausen's wife, Gina, 41, was wounded and treated at University Hospital.
A task force was assembled to look into the Wiebergs' deaths, and Crane said that investigation "continues to move forward every day."
"We still feel very hopeful" of making an arrest in that case, he said.
Leads on Bates' case have been fewer and farther between, but Crane said investigators received a couple of tips Thursday that they're now following. The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad began investigating Bates' death Sept. 9.