Person Of Interest In Heather Teague Case

Published: Nov. 12, 2004 at 9:48 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2004 at 11:24 PM CST
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Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Amber Griswold

UPDATE, SUN 9PM: Newswatch is learning more about a "person of interest" in the nine-year old missing persons case of Heather Teague.

The information is coming out of Medina, Ohio. For more than a decade, Detective Scott Thomas and his colleagues have been investigating Christopher Below, a native of Henderson, Kentucky.

Last year, Thomas got Below to confess to the 1991 murder of his lover, Kathern Fetzer, for which he's currently serving time. But the detective suspects Below may have also harmed other women over the years who fit a certain profile.

Both Fetzer and Teague had long, dark hair, were around five feet tall, and weighed only 100 pounds.

Detective Thomas told Newswatch, "The Heather Teague case was interesting because, a) He's from the area. I was able to establish a time frame that he was in that area at the time and that shortly after her disappearance, he left the state of Kentucky."

Thomas says the more he dug into Below's life, the stranger it got. He calls the 39-year-old a pathological liar, a sociopath, and an extreme manipulator.

We will continue to follow this story on Newswatch at 5 and 6. We will bring you the exclusive interview with the Ohio detective who suspects Chris Below is the man who dragged Heather Teague off a beach in broad daylight, or may have played some other role in her disappearance.

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EARLIER: A hot lead Friday night in a cold tri-state case.
Heather Teague disappeared while sunbathing on Newburgh Beach in Henderson County nine years ago. Now, Kentucky State Police are taking a closer look at someone they're calling "a person of interest."
Kentucky state police say a Henderson native who is currently behind bars for killing a young woman in Ohio, has become a person of interest in the Teague case. They say there have been many "people of interest" in the Heather Teague case over the course of the nine year investigation.
One stands out in particular because of his violent past and his whereabouts at the time of Heather's disappearance. Only a detective in Ohio was willing to go on record to talk about the possible connection.
It took a detective in Medina, Ohio twelve years to get a Henderson, Kentucky native to confess to the murder of a young woman named Kathern Fetzer. It took another year to bring that man to justice. But this detective says his work is not over.
Through a telescope across the Ohio River, an eyewitness says he watched a man come out of the woods behind Newburgh Beach and drag 23-year-old Heather Teague away at gunpoint. She was never heard from again.
Four years earlier and 450 miles away in Medina, Ohio, 26-year-old Kathern Fetzer left a note for her husband that said she was feeling restless and needed to go to the mall. She was never heard from again.
The investigation led to Christopher Below, originally from Henderson, Kentucky. He was living near Medina at the time and working with Fetzer at a factory. He was reportedly having an affair with her too, but denied any involvement in her disappearance.
Medina City Police Detective Scott Thomas didn't believe it. Over the next twelve years, Detective Thomas continued to track down and re-question Below as he moved from state to state.
In the fall of 2003, Below had returned to the tri-state, living in this home on Evansville's west side with a woman and her five children. Evansville police detectives joined detective Thomas on November 18th, when they knocked on the door and asked Below to come downtown to talk about an unrelated case.
Inside, Detective Thomas confronted Below with new evidence in the Kathern Fetzer disappearance and Below finally confessed to shooting her.
He was eventually extradited to Ohio where he made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and is currently serving eleven to 18 years in prison.
Through it all, Fetzer's body was never recovered.

Below would have got less time if he would have led police to the woman's body, but all he would tell them is that she would never be found.

Detective Thomas says he doesn't believe Below disposed of her body in a dumpster as he initially confessed. He says in the past, Below had bragged to friends that he knew how to "get rid of bodies" and his philosophy was "no body -- no crime."
Those statements prompted the detective to start looking at other missing persons cases, especially those whose physical descriptions were similar to Kathern Fetzer's. And that's when he started looking into the disappearance of Heather Teague.
Detective Thomas says Below would have had the opportunity for involvement, because he was living in Henderson in August of 1995, when she vanished.
And since Henderson is where Below grew up, it's likely he knew the only suspect in the case, Marty Dill.
Newburgh resident Tim Walthall has always contended Dill is the man he watched through a telescope drag Heather off the beach at gunpoint. Heather's mother Sarah has always suspected the composite sketch was drawn to match Dill's picture rather than the eye witnesses account of the actual gunman.

Whether Below is connected to Dill or the disappearance of Heather Teague is something investigators plan to ask him as he sits behind bars in an Ohio prison, serving an eleven to 18 year sentence for the death of Kathern Fetzer.

Detective Thomas says because Chris Below worked as a truck driver for some time, he may have ties to other missing person cases in other parts of the country too.
We will have more on this apparent development in this case in the days to come.