A farmer with a criminal conviction for abusing horses that were later rehabilitated in Milan, Ill., has been charged with murder in Schuyler County, Mo., for allegedly drowning his wife.
Lawrence F. Wietholder, 61, was arrested at his residence Friday evening by the Schuyler County sheriff and a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The body of his wife, JoAnn Wietholder, was found on the property.
Earlier this month, Wietholder was given 30 months probation after being convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals in Adams County, Ill. His case is set for review in January.
In March 2005, authorities impounded 19 horses on Wietholder’s farm in Camp Point, Ill. The horses were transported to Schone’s Friendship Farm in Milan. Three died, but 16 were rehabilitated and adopted by new owners in the Quad-Cities.
According to authorities, Wietholder also had horse farms in northeast Missouri. In the past, Missouri authorities impounded 16 horses and filed abuse charges against Wietholder and his wife.
According to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, authorities received a report at 7:30 p.m. Friday that Wietholder had possibly drowned his wife. He was taken into custody at 8:05 p.m. without incident.
Authorities executed a search warrant at the residence and seized some evidence.
Wietholder was being held Saturday at the Adair County Detention Center in Kirksville, Mo., under suicide watch. His bail is set at $5 million.
Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493