Unsolved cases still haunt police

Several unsolved murders in Mohave County in the past few years continue to baffle law enforcement officers.

One open case involved the shooting death of a Kingman man and the beating of his partner at their jewelry store in Kingman almost five years ago.

On May 22 1998, a suspect entered a trading post on West Beale Street.

William Lee Schanz, 57, was shot once in the back of the head.

His partner, Ronald Hilbert, 68, was severely beaten.

Hilbert remained in a coma until he died last year at a New Jersey hospital.

KPD Detective Lyman Watson said there was no sign of a robbery.

But that doesn't mean the suspect or suspects attempted to rob the store then fled before doing so.

The men's wallets, the cash in the register or any other merchandise was not taken.

The killings may, however, be considered a hate crime since Hilbert and Schanz were homosexuals.

KPD detectives questioned Schanz's brother in California but he was not considered a suspect, Watson said.

The case has been assigned to several detectives over the years.

Comparisons are sometimes made with similar armed robberies in the Southwest.

A similar case in Texas where suspects may have been involved in the shooting of a Las Vegas man was dismissed, Watson said.

But Watson admits that the more time a case goes by without being solved the lower the chance of solving that crime.

A number of recent murder cases in the county were solved within 48 hours.

Cases are usually solved even years later when witnesses finally come forward, he said.

Another unsolved crime is the bludgeoned death of a 16-year-old Dolan Springs teen-ager killed on April 11, 2001.

Keith Ardell Benefield was found around 11 p.m.

lying on the ground at milepost 3 on Pierce Ferry Road, suffering from severe head injuries.

Mohave County sheriff's detectives determined that Benefield was not struck by a vehicle but possibly from a blunt object such as a baseball bat.

No weapons were found.

Benefield was discovered by friends about a mile and a half from where he lived with his father and one of his two sisters.

When Benefield was found he was treated by paramedics from Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department, then flown to Kingman Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Benefield had been living with his mother in Salinas, Calif., before returning to the area several months prior to his death.

He was in the process of enrolling as a 9th grader at Kingman High School South Campus.

Mohave Silent Witness is still offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspects in the boy's murder.

Stanley John Alecksynas, 56, was killed in April 2002 when Mohave County search and rescue volunteers discovered his body near Oatman.

Alecksynas's wife told detectives he left the house around 9 a.m.

April 2 to check on property the couple leases about two miles south of Oatman Road near the Iowa mine.

His wife called MCSO around 11 p.m.

when he had not returned.

Searchers discovered his body around 1:40 a.m.

near the entrance to a mine opening.

Alecksynas reportedly was the victim of an gunshot.

In December 2001, Arizona Department of Public Safety detectives investigated a hit and run accident that killed an 83-year-old Valle Vista man.

Lee Livesay was killed sometime between 11 p.m.


21 and 1 a.m.


22 walking along Route 66 near milepost 72 just east of the Valle Vista entrance.

The suspect vehicle is believed to be either a 1992-1996 Ford F-150 pickup; a Ford full size Bronco; or a 1992-1998 Ford F-250 or F-350 pickup.

The truck had right front corner damage to the headlight or turn signal assembly.

Pieces of headlight and turn signal lenses were found at the scene.

It is believed that Livesay left a party at a nearby residence.

He was walking along the highway after his vehicle became stuck on a side road about a mile from where his body was found.

Livesay may have been hit from behind and on his left side.

He may also have been alive for a time after the accident.