Archive for Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Wife proclaims husband’s innocence in girl’s death

November 16, 1999

Advertisement

— Within 45 minutes Monday, first-degree murder charges were filed against one Bledsoe brother while the same charges against another were dropped.

Her sister was killed. Her husband is charged with the murder.

Monday afternoon, Heidi Bledsoe was proclaiming her husband's innocence.

"I just know Floyd didn't do it," Heidi Bledsoe said moments after Floyd Scott Bledsoe was charged with first-degree murder in the early November shooting of Camille Arfmann, 14.

"No. That's not the kind of person Floyd is," the 20-year-old woman told reporters in a Jefferson County Courthouse hallway. "There were no problems between Floyd and my sister."

Arfmann, who lived with Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe, never complained of any problems with her husband, Heidi Bledsoe said.

"No. Not to me."

Within 45 minutes Monday afternoon, one Bledsoe brother was charged with first-degree murder in the young girl's death and the same charges against another Bledsoe brother were dismissed.

Floyd Scott Bledsoe, 23, had been held since Saturday morning in the Jefferson County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with Arfmann's death.

On Monday, first-degree murder charges were dismissed against Thomas E. Bledsoe, 25. Thomas Bledsoe had been charged Nov. 8. He was released on his own recognizance Friday night. According to the Jefferson County sheriff, his release was part of an agreement between prosecutors and Thomas Bledsoe's defense attorney. No further explanation was given.

Now, Thomas Bledsoe is listed as a witness on the first-degree murder complaint against his brother. So is Heidi Bledsoe.

County Attorney Jim Vanderbilt was unavailable Monday to answer reporters' questions about the case. He was only seen during the time it took to charge Floyd Scott Bledsoe.

Floyd Scott Bledsoe wore a bulletproof vest in the courtroom as the charges were explained to him by District Magistrate Judge Dennis Reiling.

Dressed in orange jail clothes, Bledsoe was handcuffed with the cuffs attached to a chain around his waist. His feet were chained.

He was not required to enter a plea during the first-appearance hearing.

Reiling appointed Atchison attorney John Kurth to represent Bledsoe.

During Monday's hearing, Reiling ordered Bledsoe held without bond. In speaking against setting a bond, Vanderbilt stressed the nature of the crime and the need to protect the community.

"Based on the circumstances standing around Camille's death, the method she was killed and the disposal of the body, the facts say this crime could be committed again," Vanderbilt said. "We believe it is necessary to hold him without bond."

Kurth told Reiling he could not speak on the question of bond for Bledsoe because he had just been appointed to the case.

Law enforcement officials have released few details about the crime. The report from an autopsy of Arfmann's body is not complete, Sheriff Roy Dunnaway said. Toxicological reports also are pending.

And an affidavit in Thomas Bledsoe's case file is sealed.

Sheriff's officers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents have been working 12- to 18-hour days investigating the case, Dunnaway said. Arfmann was reported missing Nov. 6, and her body was found Nov. 8.

"It'll be awhile before we're done," the sheriff said.

Dunnaway would not say whether there are other suspects in the case.

"The way you do this is you look at everybody," he said.

The sheriff also declined to rule out Thomas Bledsoe as a suspect.

"He may be, he may not be."

Speculation about the crime has been the main topic of discussion around the courthouse square, which is the hub of commerce in this city of 2,000 located 19 miles north of Lawrence along U.S. Highway 59.

Monday's first-appearance hearing for Floyd Scott Bledsoe drew the largest contingent of reporters to town since Arfmann was reported missing Nov. 6.

Four TV crews, two newspaper reporters and two newspaper photographers were around the courthouse much of the afternoon.

As she walked out of Vanderbilt's office Monday afternoon, Tommie Sue Arfmann, Camille's mother, complained about news coverage of her daughter's funeral Saturday. She said Dunnaway had told reporters to stay away.

Dunnaway said he knew of no request to keep media away from the funeral and issued no such instruction.

Camille Arfmann was found dead at 2:30 a.m. Nov. 8 after Thomas Bledsoe led sheriff's officers to her body, which was buried in a ditch beneath trash and dirt in a field north of his home.

The young woman was last seen alive at 4:20 p.m. Nov. 5, entering the mobile home of Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe. A school bus driver watched the Oskaloosa High School honor roll student walk from the bus to her residence.

Camille Arfmann was living with Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe so she could ride the school bus to Oskaloosa High. Arfmann's mother lives in Winchester, and Camille would stay with her on the weekends.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.