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Northwest Ohio man held in W.Va. murder case

WESTON, W.Va. – Two men have been indicted on murder charges stemming from the 1999 disappearance of a West Virginia woman and her daughter.

A Lewis County grand jury charged both Charles Stephen Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio, and Joseph Metz, 39, of Horner with two counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in a sealed indictment, media outlets reported.

Lewis Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall ordered the indictment unsealed Thursday morning following Freeman’s arrest on Wednesday in Ohio.

The men are accused of killing Maxine Stalnaker, 69, and her daughter, Mary Friend, 46.

The women disappeared in Dec. 1, 1999, after leaving their Jane Lew home on a Christmas shopping trip. Their station wagon was found five days later near the Harrison County community of Gore. Their bodies have not been found.

Metz is Friend’s son and Stalnaker’s grandson.

Co-defendant David Hughes, 58, of Archbold pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He is awaiting sentencing.

All three defendants initially were charged in September 2013 with the slayings. Former Lewis County prosecutor Mike Smith later dismissed the charges, saying there was new information.

Attorney Tom Dyer, who had previously represented Freeman, told The Exponent Telegram (http://bit.ly/1r6MMiS ) the new charges against Freeman were “a very big surprise.”

“To me, I thought this was all over,” Dyer said.

Metz has been held at the Central Regional Jail without bond since the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department arrested him on murder charges in January. Jail records didn’t indicate whether Metz has an attorney.

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