Glendale Police Make Arrest In 1978 Homicide

For 37 years the murder of Susan Schmidt went unsolved, Wednesday the Glendale Police Department announces the arrest of Edward Meinhold in its oldest cold case.

On Wednesday, March 22, 1978, just after 8:30pm, the Glendale Police Department responded to a call of an injured person in a car in the roadway at 55th Avenue, just south of Northern. Both the Glendale Police and Glendale Fire Departments responded to find 21-year old Susan Schmidt, a Glendale resident, slumped in her vehicle after being shot multiple times. Susan was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced deceased.

During the initial investigation, investigators learned that Susan had been seen shopping in the Valley West Mall shortly before 8:00pm. Approximately 30 minutes later, a jogger found Susan in her 1976 Toyota Celica. He flagged down another vehicle which drove to a nearby fire station and summoned help. Investigators spoke to several witnesses who indicated that a male subject was seen standing at or near Susan’s car where it had been found in the roadway. Detectives followed up on many leads, but all were ruled out and the case went “cold.”

A beautiful and well-liked girl, Susan was a graduate of Glendale High School, worked at the Glendale Youth Center tutoring young adults and a was a college student at both Glendale Community College and Arizona State University.

Detectives and Forensic investigators have continued to work this cold case in hopes of generating new leads. Over the last 37 years this case has been featured in many news formats and several Cold Case Detectives have put effort into solving Susan’s murder. It is the oldest homicide case at the Glendale Police Department. Cold cases are periodically reviewed as new information, tips or leads come to the attention of Detectives.

Last April, a Glendale Police Forensic Technician conducted additional analysis on physical evidence collected from the crime scene and was able to identify 54-year-old Edward Meinhold of Bristol Virginia as a suspect. Cold Case Detective Roger Geisler began conducting countless interviews both locally and in Virginia. He spoke to Edward Meinhold and found that he had lived in Glendale at the time of Susan’s murder and lived a short distance from the crime scene.

Working closely with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and after appearing before a Grand Jury, an arrest warrant was obtained against Edward Meinhold for the murder (1st Degree Homicide) of Susan Schmidt in 1978. Detective Geisler travelled back to Virginia and, with assistance from the Bristol Police Department in Virginia, arrested Meinhold on August 21, 2015. Meinhold is awaiting extradition back to Arizona.

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