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Arrests made in Lincoln woman’s homicide investigation

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 1:11 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2022 at 2:55 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two arrests have been made in connection to the death of 23-year-old Carly Schaaf. She was reported missing on May 19, 2021 and her body was found in a wooded area near Pawnee Lake on June 10.

Joesef Barraza and Rachel Pageler are both being charged with multiple felonies. Barraza is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and three counts of sexual assault. Pageler is charged with accessory to murder and kidnapping.

Arrest affidavits made public Friday layout a timeline of events that led up to the pair’s arrests.

According to those documents, Schaaf knew Barraza from high school and had some contact with him in the months leading up to her disappearance.

A family friend of the Schaaf’s, who had recently started dating Carly, told investigators that he last saw her the afternoon of May 17, 2021, and that she told him she was going on a run with a friend. However, he told investigators he believed that person may have been Barraza. The documents go on to describe how the man suspected Barraza was trying to “turn Carly out” a slang term for forcing someone to have sex against their will.

Following multiple informal interviews with both Barraza and Pageler, a search warrant was granted on June 4 for their shared home in Lincoln. Lincoln Police arrested the couple on drug and weapons charges.

At that time investigators located photos and videos on Barraza’s phone taken at a lake.

One video sent on June 1 to Pageler’s phone contained a video of a wooded area and the camera zooms in with a text “see anything?”.

Using the video as a guide, LPD investigators searched both Branched Oak and Pawnee Lakes for the areas in the photo from Barraza’s phone.

Schaafs body was located in an area that matched up with the video on June 10.

The same search warrant that found photos on Barraza’s phone also noted missing shower curtains.

The affidavit describes Schaaf’s body was found in a shower curtain, shower liner, and the inner-most layer is a brown comforter with a recognizable design. Several photos police also found on Barraza’s phone had the same brown comforter in them.

According to investigators, Barraza’s phone has internet activity from YouTube on May 22, 2021 where it appeared someone watched a video on how to make Piranha solution. An internet search reveals that piranha solution is a chemical mixture that will decompose most organic matter.

Videos also found on Barraza’s phone show him sexually assaulting multiple women who appear to be either unconscious or drugged, one of those people being Schaaf.

In early October of last year, Schaaf’s death certificate was made public. It listed her cause of death as a homicide from asphyxia due to smothering, combined with a drug overdose. The death certificate is dated June 16, less than a week after Schaaf’s body was found.

Barraza was previously arrested for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on August 30, 2020 in east Lincoln. In that case, the woman told police she believed she had been drugged by Barraza and had no memory of what happened.

Joesef D. Barraza and Rachel B. Pageler
Joesef D. Barraza and Rachel B. Pageler(Lincoln Police)

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