Girl’s death leaves family, children with questions

OSKALOOSA — Family, friends wonder why the smiling, shy girl was killed.

At 4:20 p.m. Friday, honor student Camille Arfmann stepped off a school bus. The driver watched the 14-year-old walk to the residence of her sister and brother-in-law in rural Jefferson County.

Camille stepped inside and was gone from sight.

After that moment, what remained of her life became a mystery that Jefferson County Sheriff’s officers now are trying to solve.

Camille, who stuck to schedules, was supposed to attend a church fun night Friday evening.

Sometime over the weekend, Camille was shot to death and thrown into a ditch. Her body was covered by trash and dirt.

Family and friends wonder why this shy girl who always had a smile on her face should meet such a tragic end.

“It’s not fair that she died this way,” said Peggy Craig, a counselor at Oskaloosa High School. “She was young. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right.”

Camille was new to the Oskaloosa school district this year. Previously she attended Jefferson County North schools.

Monday, students who had gotten to know Camille in the brief time she was at the high school “shared memories of her. How friendly she was. How she never said anything mean about anyone,” Craig said.

Craig, area ministers and a crisis counselor from Lawrence were at the school Monday to talk to students about Camille’s death. The students were told by their first-hour teachers that Camille’s body had been found.

“I’ve been here 19 years and nobody’s ever been murdered,” Craig said. “We’ve had kids killed in car accidents.”

Sitting on the steps of the mobile home where Camille was last seen, her mother, Tommie Arfmann, talked about her daughter, the youngest of seven children.

Arfmann talked about a door frame in her Winchester home where Camille left her teeth marks as a toddler.

“I never let them repair it,” Arfmann said.

Arfmann remembered how Camille first climbed the stairs to the home.

“She had to set her little caboose down and scoot her way up,” she said. “She was a very smart kid.”

Camille was living with her sister and brother-in-law so she could ride a bus to the high school here. Her mother gets up at 3 a.m. to go to work. The girl’s parents have been divorced for 14 years. Her father, Dale Arfmann, could not be reached Monday at his home in Lawrence for comment.

Friday night, Camille was supposed to be with Countryside Baptist Church’s youth group.

Jim Bolinger, a Sunday school teacher at the McLouth church, was talking to youth group members Monday.

“I’m talking about the good things she did to give from her life,” Bolinger said.

“She was faithful,” he said. “She was a good girl. … She was quiet. She didn’t talk. She always seemed to have a smile. She was an excellent worker. She was always willing to help wash dishes or clean up.”

Arfmann talked also about her daughter’s faith.

“She thought God would see her through,” she said.

“She wanted to be a police officer,” Arfmann said. “She wanted to help with kids who had been in car wrecks to give them teddy bears.”

Sunday night, Arfmann said a sheriff’s officer suggested she go home and sleep. She had been awake since Friday.

“There was no way you could lay down,” she said. “Everywhere you look there are memories of her.”

Timeline: Floyd Bledsoe murder conviction overturned

● May 29, 2016 — Lawsuit filed by wrongfully convicted man details how law enforcement officials allegedly framed him

● May 21, 2016 — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, pushes to end death penalty in Kansas

● May 10, 2016 — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, says he was ‘framed,’ files lawsuit against Kansas justice officials

● Feb. 12, 2016 — Wrongfully convicted Floyd Bledsoe seeks videotaped interrogations in Kansas

● Feb. 8, 2016 — Kansas bill would allow $235K for wrongfully convicted man who spent 15 years in prison

● Jan. 18, 2016 — Jefferson County attorney doesn’t expect further action against former sheriff, others involved in wrongful murder conviction

● Jan. 17, 2016 — Bledsoe case spurs measure to allow compensation for wrongful convictions

● Jan. 10, 2016 — Requiring that police interrogations be recorded might have prevented tragedy of wrongful conviction

● Dec. 30, 2015 — ‘Who are you going to tell?’ — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully convicted of murder, discusses pain of prison, journey to forgiveness

● Dec. 27, 2015 — 1999 Oskaloosa murder case reopened; possibility that killer ‘had assistance’

● Dec. 13, 2015 — Web of lies, indifference to justice led to wrong Kansas brother being imprisoned for more than 15 years

● Dec. 13, 2015 — Kansas has no law on payouts for wrongly incarcerated prisoners

Dec. 8, 2015 — Judge throws out 2000 murder conviction, frees Oskaloosa man after 15 years in prison

● Nov. 13, 2015 — Original suspect in girl’s murder dies of apparent suicide as case about to be revisited

● Oct. 21, 2015 — KU Project for Innocence, Midwest Innocence Project seeks to free convicted murderer with DNA evidence

● July 8, 2012 — Objection to DNA testing not likely

● June 20, 2012 — Motion seeks DNA testing in 1999 murder of teen

● Sept. 30, 2009 — Further appeals limited in Bledsoe case

● July 5, 2009 — 1999 murder case won’t settle

● June 28, 2009 — Federal court reverses release in murder case

● Oct. 7, 2008 — Floyd Bledsoe, sentenced to life for murder of teen sister-in-law, set free; ineffective assistance of counsel cited

● Feb. 3, 2007 — Court upholds murder conviction

● Feb. 2, 2002 — Murder conviction is upheld

● Dec. 5, 2001 — Attorneys appeal conviction of teen-ager’s murderer

● Dec. 2, 2001 — Oskaloosa murder case to be heard

● July 15, 2000 — Victim’s family unsure justice was served

● July 15, 2000 — Bledsoe gets life

● July 14, 2000 — Bledsoe sentenced to life in prison

● June 23, 2000 — Bledsoe sentencing delayed

● May 31, 2000 — Lawyer: Mother’s story changes

● April 30, 2000 — Minister supports Bledsoe in spirit

● April 28, 2000 — Bledsoe found guilty

● April 28, 2000 — Bledsoe murder case goes to jury

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe charges amended

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe prosecution rests

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe murder trial wrapping up

● April 26, 2000 — Tom Bledsoe seeks to explain lies

● April 26, 2000 — Bledsoe told his mother he didn’t kill Arfmann

● April 25, 2000 — Pool of potential jurors knows all about case

● April 25 2000 — Trial starts in murder of girl, 14

● April 24, 2000 — Murder trial to begin today

● Dec. 10, 1999 — Family of victim tries to cope with pain, loss

● Dec. 10, 1999 — Murder suspect enters innocent plea

● Dec. 9, 1999 — Murder suspect to be arraigned

● Nov. 30, 1999 — Case pits brother vs. brother

● Nov. 18, 1999 — Friends relieved charges were dismissed against Oskaloosa man

● Nov. 16, 1999 — Wife proclaims husband’s innocence in girl’s death

● Nov. 14, 1999 — In-law jailed in slaying of teen-ager

● Nov. 14, 1999 — Family, friends mourn Camille

● Nov. 10, 1999 — Quiet hearing for defendant charged with girl’s slaying

● Nov. 10, 1999 — Bledsoe recieves murder charge

● Nov. 9, 1999 — Police hold relative of slain girl

● Nov. 9, 1999 — Girl’s death leaves family, children with questions


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