On Wednesday, March 21 at approximately 10:08 p.m., the Paynesville Police Department responded to a welfare check/missing persons report at 1525 W Mill Street. The reporting party, a niece, was concerned as Wilbert and Gloria Scheel had missed a dinner appointment at approximately 6 p.m. The niece tried to locate her aunt and uncle and when she was unsuccessful, she contacted the Paynesville Police Department. Family members had already checked the residence and did not find either Wilbert or Gloria or their adult grandson, Gregory, who lived with them.
The Scheel’s 2011 blue Toyota Prius was not at the residence. This was verified by the responding officer. The Paynesville officer attempted to locate the Scheels and ultimately entered them and the vehicle into police computer files as missing.
At the request of Paynesville Chief Paul Wegner, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation the following morning, March 22. All efforts to locate the Scheels to this point were unsuccessful. In the early afternoon on March 22, additional investigators from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office responded to Paynesville and assistance from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for agent and crime lab personnel was requested.
By this point, evidence led investigators to believe the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Scheels was suspicious.
The BCA crime lab arrived on scene at the Mill Street residence just prior to 5 p.m. Shortly after executing a search warrant and conducting an initial walk through of the residence, investigators received information that the Scheel’s missing Prius had been located on County Road 5 on the east side of Game’s Lake in Kandiyohi County. The caller reported the vehicle appeared to be stuck in the mud and had been there for some time. This portion of County Road 5 is gravel and under construction.
Deputies, investigators and agents responded to this location. Stearns County deputies mapped the area with Sheriff’s Office Drone and the BCA Crime Lab team began to process the scene.
Deputies from Kandiyohi County conducted a canvas of the neighborhood and a search of the area near the car. After the scene around the car was photographed and processed, the vehicle was towed to the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center for processing of the interior.
Inside the vehicle under some carpet, agents and investigators found the bodies of an elderly male and female. The deaths did not appear to be from natural causes.
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