32-Year-Old Bemidji Woman Named Person of Interest in Homicide Case
A 76-year-old man was found dead at his Faribault home on February 5, and a 32-year-old woman from Bemidji has been named a person of interest in his homicide. The Faribault Police Department received a call for a welfare check at a residence on Mitchell Drive in Faribault. Upon entering the house, officers discovered the deceased male, later identified as Gary Lehmeyer. The circumstances surrounding his death were deemed suspicious, and the house was treated as a crime scene.
Preliminary autopsy information from the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Lehmeyer died from homicidal violence. During the investigation, it was discovered that Lehmeyer’s vehicle was missing. A regional alert was issued, and it was determined that the vehicle was in the possession of Iowa law enforcement. The vehicle had been stopped by an Iowa State Patrol officer on Interstate 80 in Dallas County, Iowa, before Lehmeyer was found dead.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Arlene Theresa Bell, was arrested on unrelated charges and taken to the Dallas County Jail. After being contacted by Faribault detectives, Iowa authorities added a charge of motor vehicle theft against Bell. She remains in custody at the Dallas County Jail on charges related to the traffic stop, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and providing false identification information.
Evidence recovered from the vehicle has established probable cause linking Bell to the theft of Lehmeyer’s vehicle. She has also been named a person of interest in his death. The investigation has revealed that Bell and Lehmeyer were engaged in a legally qualifying domestic relationship at the time of his death, although the exact nature of their relationship is still unknown.
While Bell remains in custody in Iowa, Faribault detectives are working with the Rice County Attorney’s Office to issue a warrant for Bell’s arrest and extradition on a charge of motor vehicle theft once her Iowa case is resolved. The case remains open and active as law enforcement awaits forensic testing results and further investigation.
It is worth mentioning that Bell has a history of prior charges in Minnesota, including assault, disorderly conduct, drug offenses, burglary, and other charges dating back to 2009.
Authorities are urging anyone with information related to this case to come forward and assist in the ongoing investigation.