Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bambi Bembenek

The Crime Scene

On May 28, 1981, at approximately 2:00 a.m, someone entered the Milwaukee, Wisconsin home of Christine Schultz, age 30, where she lived with her two sons, Sean, 10, and Shannon, 7. The intruder entered Christine's bedroom with a gun and tied her hands together. Then, inexplicably, he went across the hall and put a gloved hand over Sean's mouth and nose, and slipped some wire around his neck. Sean awoke in terror to see a tall man standing over him. His brother also woke up and jumped out of bed to kick the man. They remembered him as having reddish-brown hair tied into a ponytail. The intruder rushed back over to Christine's room, where she cried out. He shot her in the back, and then fled past the two startled boys down the steps and out the door.

It was Sean who phoned for help, calling Christine's current boyfriend, Stewart Honeck, a police officer. He put in a call to the department for backup. Four police officers arrived at the scene and were let in by the frightened boys. Honeck went up the steps and was the first to see Christine. He moved her and saw that she was not breathing.

She was lying on her right side, facing west. She wore a yellow Adidas T-shirt and white panties. A clothesline-type cord was tied around her hands, binding them in front of her, and a blue bandanna-type scarf was wrapped around her head, gagging her mouth. The T-shirt was torn near the wound, a large bullet hole in her right shoulder. There was no sign of a struggle.

Police cut the cord around victim's hands and wrapped her body in plastic. They removed a brown hair from the calf of her leg.

Two hours after the initial report, the medical examiner arrived. An hour later, an ambulance came to transport the victim to the police morgue.

There was no evidence of a break-in, and the doors had heavy-duty locks, including a dead bolt. The crime was puzzling in many respects.

Normally the prime suspect would have been Christine's ex-husband, Elfred ("Fred") O. Schultz, Jr., but he had an alibi: He, too, was a cop, and had been on duty that night. At the time of the shooting, he claimed, he and his partner were investigating a break-in.

Christine Schultz had divorced him the previous year, in November of 1980, after eleven years of marriage, keeping custody with visitation rights of their sons, and living in the family home. She worked part-time. The marriage had been rocky and she had complained to her attorney after the divorce that she was afraid of Schultz, who had threatened her life. When he continued hanging around the house after she asked him to leave, she had the locks changed. She also felt she was being followed, and wondered if it had something to do with Honeck, known to have a drinking problem and to bear some animosity toward Fred, with whom he had once shared an apartment.

House where Christine Schultz was murdered
House where Christine Schultz was

The intertwined nature of all the relationships in this unfolding drama was as complex as any soap opera. It turned out to be a much more complicated case than anyone had anticipated.


On the evening in question, Christine had made dinner for Stewart Honeck. Thereafter, the boys went to bed while Christine and Honeck watched television for a while, whereupon she drove him home. When she returned, he called her and they talked on the phone until about 11:30. Then she went upstairs to her room on the second floor to watch television. Not long afterward, she was murdered.

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