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Skeletal remains identified as McHenry woman

Published: Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 12:59 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:32 p.m. CST

WOODSTOCK – The skeletal remains of a woman found badly decomposed in a McHenry-area home have been identified, as the man charged with concealing her homicide sits in a Las Vegas jail.

The deceased is 49-year-old Jacqueline R. Schaefer, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. She was positively identified through DNA testing completed at the Illinois State Crime Lab.

A missing persons report never was filed for Schaefer, whose skeletal remains were found in early November at a McHenry-area home owned by William J. Ross. Schaefer appeared to be dead for some time, authorities said. The home sat vacant for more than a year and a half.

No one has been charged with her murder, and authorities are not releasing her official cause of death.

Police on Nov. 6 were called to 518 N. Country Club Drive in unincorporated McHenry by a caretaker who found Schaefer’s body inside a plastic bag in a sealed bedroom.

Recent dental records for the woman were unavailable, so investigators used DNA testing to identify her.

A McHenry County grand jury on Dec. 18 returned an indictment for a concealment of a homicide charge against Ross. The Class 3 felony is punishable by two to five years in prison.

Ross, 62, was apprehended in Las Vegas on Nov. 7. He remains in custody at the Clark County, Nev., Correctional Facility.

He previously refused to waive extradition from Nevada, meaning the local state attorney’s office had to secure a governor’s warrant to bring him to McHenry County. Ross is scheduled for a status hearing there on Feb. 13.

According McHenry County court records, Ross twice was charged with domestic battery stemming from incidents involving Schaefer. The first, in August 2007, was later dropped, and a second from September that year was amended to misdemeanor battery for which he received six months of probation, ordered to attend DUI school and to pay a $523 fine.

Ross retained Crystal Lake attorney Henry Sugden. Sugden represented Ross in his previous domestic cases, but wouldn’t comment on the latest charges when reached Monday.

The nature of Schaefer’s relationship with Ross remains unclear. In some court documents, she’s called a household member and listed as a tenant in others. Citing an ongoing investigation, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t elaborate on how the two knew each other.

Investigators are asking anyone with information on Schaefer’s life to call the Sheriff’s Office.

“We don’t have all the pieces,” Undersheriff Andy Zinke said. “We have a fair amount of information, but were trying to put together a timeline prior to her death.”

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