Crime & Courts

Court documents: Murder victim shot 2 years before she was found

WOODSTOCK – William J. Ross on Tuesday made his first courtroom appearance since being charged with first-degree murder, more than six months after a woman’s badly decomposed body was found in his McHenry home.

Ross, 62, previously was charged with concealing the homicide of 49-year-old Jacqueline R. Schaefer.

Her remains were discovered in November inside a bag and sealed room at Ross’ 518 Country Club Road home.

He was no longer living there, and the house had sat vacant for more than a year and a half.

According to latest criminal complaint, Schaefer was shot Sept. 11, 2011.

She was identified through DNA testing.

Authorities remain tight lipped about what new evidence ties Ross to the alleged crime. At an earlier court date, prosecutors ordered that DNA samples be taken.

“Unlike on television, forensic and scientific testing takes a great deal of time,” said Michael Combs, chief of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Criminal Division. “We have more evidence now than when we charged him with concealment.”

Ross hired Crystal Lake defense attorney Hank Sugden.

“I expect them to find his DNA there, he’s lived in that house for 20 years,” Sugden said.

After being extradited in February from Las Vegas, Ross posted $10,000 cash to be released on bond for the concealment charge. He was re-arrested last week and remains in custody at the McHenry County Jail unable to post $5 million bond.

On Tuesday, dressed in orange jail scrubs, his skin appeared ashen and his legs shaky as he slowly exited the holding cell to appear before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather.

His case was continued to Aug. 6. He has not yet been arraigned on the new charge.

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