FREMONT, NE – A mother trying to get her daughter’s body back home has help thanks to her community. Stacey Velder was found dead in her Virginia home Sunday. Police there went to the home after her mother, Pam Velder, called them concerned from Fremont.
“It's so hard,” Pam Velder said through tears, “The officer said, ‘Pam, I hate to do this over the phone.’ You know right then. ‘We found a body in the trailer.’”
Velder said the two talked on the phone every day since her daughter left for Virginia in October. She became concerned when the calls stopped coming. Police said Pam Velder’s descriptions of her daughter’s tattoos are what helped them identify the body. The man who she lived with, Christopher Schultz, is a person of interest in the case.
“They had Chris. They had her car. Nobody could tell me where Stacy was,” Velder said.
Police in Mount Pleasant Iowa arrested Schultz on stolen vehicle felony charges Sunday morning in the southeast Iowa town. Police confirmed he was a person of interest in the Virginia murder.
“I remember the day she was leaving. She came in crying. She hated to go. I said, 'You don't have to go!'” said Craig Corn who owns Mac’s Café in Fremont where Stacey Velder worked before moving to Virginia.
He continued taking donations Wednesday at the café. Friends and family of Velder were collecting money to help the family transport Stacey’s body home. They had raised enough to do that, but continued collecting donations for funeral expenses.
“It's just like a nightmare. It's hard to believe,” said Corn. “She was someone so young, fun, and full of life. I don't understand why someone would do that.”
Police have not charged Schultz in connection with Stacey Velder’s murder.
Donations can be dropped off at businesses around Fremont, including Bank of the West, which has set up an account. More Information.