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Search warrants detail Edinburg murder investigation

Claude Delmus Shafer Jr. (Buy photo)

By Joe Beck

A search warrant affidavit filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday states that Shenandoah County sheriff's deputies who discovered the body of Phyllis Kline at her home Sunday morning found she had suffered earlier trauma to her head and neck.

The search warrant was executed on the personal belongings of Claude Shafer Jr. stored at the Shenandoah County Jail. Shafer, 35, is accused of killing Kline at her home at 14487 Old Valley Pike. He is charged with first-degree murder.

The affidavit for the search warrant submitted by Lt. Tom Shelton of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office states that investigators found blood spattered about Kline's body.

"It is probable that there were bodily fluids from the deceased deposited onto the suspect and suspect's articles of clothing," Shelton wrote.

The affidavit also states that authorities identified shoe prints at the scene that they found "similar" to shoes worn by Shafer.

The warrant lists a leg brace, hat, one pair of shoes, wallet and its contents, and a can of snuff among Shafer's belongings that were seized at the jail.

Another search warrant, executed Monday at Shafer's residence at 14447 Old Valley Pike, led to the seizure of prescription pill bottles, a blue bag and mail.

The affidavit for the search warrant filed on Monday states that deputies found Kline's home had been broken into from the side doors. The deputies were called to the scene by members of Kline's church who grew concerned when she did not appear for Sunday services.

The affidavit states that Investigator Paul Ryman found Kline in an upstairs bedroom "lying on her side with the covers over her, but head exposed."

Ryman found there was bruising around the right eye and trauma above the right eye on the forehead, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit also states that Kline's face had been cut. A preliminary finding issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner earlier this week concluded that Kline was stabbed to death.

Investigators found several shoe impressions left on nearby railroad ties that were similar to other shoe prints left at the point of forced entry into the house, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit also refers to a witness mentioned in other court records who told investigators that he had met Shafer as he walked toward him at the railroad tracks. The affidavit refers to the witness as a male. The witness told authorities that Shafer took him back to the residence where he saw Kline in her bed "with blood all over her face."

"The source said that Shafer told him that if he told on him, that's what he would to do to him," the affidavit states. "The source said that Shafer took prescription pills and three guns from the residence."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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