Murder Investigation Has Local Ties

Two people wanted in connection with a Webster County, Nebraska murder investigation were in Cass County over the weekend and are suspected of stealing a vehicle in Plattsmouth.

The Nebraska State Patrol says that around 8am Saturday (10/5) the Webster County Sheriff’s Office responded to a request to check the welfare of Virginia Barone, age 68, in Guide Rock. Upon their arrival they found Barone deceased in her home. Barone’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

The Cassgram reports two individuals wanted in connection with the Webster County homicide investigation are currently being held in the Jasper County Jail, in Newton, Iowa. Shelley Casterline, 41, and Andrew Casterline, 23, both of Guide Rock, are currently jailed on unrelated Iowa charges of suspected robbery.

The investigation into Barone’s death continues. No further information is being released at this time.

At the time the body was discovered, the Casterlines were in Plattsmouth. Andrew Casterline had been arrested by the Nebraska State Patrol for driving under the influence and was booked into the Cass County Jail on Friday. It was a first offense charge and he bonded out for $250, according to jail records.

The Casterlines, escorted by a state patrolman, checked into the Fitzgerald Hotel about midnight. Hotel manager Rich McFeely said they paid cash, something the hotel would rather not accept from out-of-towners but allowed it since the trooper brought them there.

The next morning, McFeely said he and his staff were very suspicious of the pair and were concerned because “they reeked of cigarette smoke”—indoor smoking is not allowed, of course—and they asked directions on how to get to Interstate 80 eastbound. Staff entered the room immediately after the Casterlines checked out and found cigarettes burning on the carpet and the room in disarray.

McFeely said the Casterlines left some receipts and things behind. Those were collected and he called police. He was told the cigarette burns would be a civil matter. He told police they left walking south toting their bags.

An older model Jeep was then stolen a few minutes later from the Dollar General Store parking lot. The keys were in the vehicle. That report came in at 10:38am Saturday. The Casterlines were arrested in central Iowa in the vehicle stolen in Plattsmouth. They are accused of mugging a woman in a Newton parking lot late Saturday. Reports say they were chased by citizens who witnessed the assault but got away by wielding a knife. The Iowa State Patrol later caught them on I-80.

McFeely commended his staff on doing a good job in an unusual and uncomfortable situation. After he heard about the arrests and the alleged crimes of the Casterlines, he said one of the thoughts that keeps running through his head was that their intention was to create a diversion with a fire call at the hotel in order to steal a car.

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