UPDATED STORY: Suspects in custody for Cromwell double homicideTwo arrests were made in the early morning hours on Wednesday in the homicide case involving Kim Schmitz and Tom Holm of Cromwell. David Joshua Annette (aka Josh Martineau), 28, and Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, both of Cloquet, were arrested for second-degree murder in the case, which has remained open since the time the murders were discovered Jan. 9.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Two arrests were made in the early morning hours on Wednesday in the homicide case involving Kim Schmitz and Tom Holm of Cromwell. David Joshua Annette (aka Josh Martineau), 28, and Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, both of Cloquet, were arrested for second-degree murder in the case, which has remained open since the time the murders were discovered Jan. 9.
In a press conference at the Carlton County Transportation Building Wednesday morning, Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said the two suspects were apprehended as the result of investigation based on a tip from the public. The information led law enforcement to a location in Hennepin County where Annette and Defoe were arrested by members of the U.S. Marshall Service, Minneapolis Fugitive Task Force and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. She said the department had reason to believe the two were hiding out in that area to avoid arrest.
Lake said the arrest went without incident. The suspects were admitted to the Hennepin County Jail at approximately 1:11 a.m. They were then released into the custody of the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department at approximately 4:17 a.m. and were transported to the Carlton County Jail, where they remained awaiting arraignment, which was expected to take place sometime Thursday morning when the Pine Journal went to press.
Lake confirmed that Annette and Defoe were familiar with the victims and she added the four had reportedly known each other for the past three to four years.
She described the relationship between Annette and Defoe as “boyfriend and girlfriend,” but declined to give any more information about them pending their arraignment. She said the department is confident they are the only two involved in the crime.
Defoe has numerous convictions on her record, including selling drugs in 2004, theft convictions in 2005, 2007 and 2009, and an assault and damage to property conviction in 2009.
Annette most recently appeared in Carlton County Court on Feb. 16, when he was sentenced to two years of probation for domestic assault. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Feb. 28. He has also has been convicted of terroristic threats and misdemeanor assault in 2004; domestic assault in 2004; possession of drug paraphernalia in 2003 and possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia in 2007.
“All law enforcement agencies are breathing a big sigh of relief right now,” Pertler said.
In the audience at Wednesday’s press conference were Holm’s sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Bill Lee of Carlton, who looked on quietly as the statement by the sheriff was made. The couple declined to comment on the arrests following the session.
Lake said the arrests came as the result of “a lot of hard work.”
“We are very happy and pleased we are able to come before you today with the news that we have arrested the two involved in the homicides,” said Lake. “I know it’s been very difficult for the families of the victims…very difficult for the public and for the community of Cromwell as well…knowing that those responsible for the homicides were still out there. Hopefully, this will provide a little bit of closure, and everyone will sleep a little easier tonight.”
Lake acknowledged that multiple local, state and federal agencies were involved in the comprehensive investigation and apprehension of Defoe and Annette, including the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Cloquet Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, Thomson Township Police Department, Fond du Lac Police Department, Duluth Police Department, Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The body of Holm, 53, was discovered by a friend who had come to check on him the afternoon of Jan. 9 at Holm’s rural home at 5158 Krogh Road in Red Clover Township near Cromwell. After authorities responded to the scene, the body of Schmitz, 53, Holm’s long-time girlfriend, was also discovered in the house. Autopsy results later revealed that the two had been shot to death.
The burned-out shell of Holm’s 1999 red, extended-cab Chevy Silverado pickup had also been discovered around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the 7700 block of Albert Road, near the towns of Brookston and Saginaw in St. Louis County. A T-shirt found in the remains of the truck was later used as evidence in the search for the perpetrators. A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the crime. On Wednesday, Lake said no decision had yet been made regarding distribution of the reward.
More information on the case will be posted on the Pine Journal website, www.pinejournal.com, as soon as it becomes available.