Archbold, OH

Two Murder Suspects Caught In NW Ohio

Two Archbold Men Arrested On W. Va. Murder Charge

David Hughes

David Hughes

A version of this article was posted to at 12:05 pm, Friday, Sept. 20.

Two Archbold men were arrested on warrants from West Virginia last week, charging them with murder in connection with the 1999 disappearance of two West Virginia women.

David Hughes, 58, who lives in the Fairlawn Apartments, was arrested at his residence by Archbold police, with assistance from Wauseon police and Fulton County Sheriff deputies at about 12:20 am, Thursday, Sept. 19.

He was taken into custody without incident, and transported to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, said Tera Rogers, an Archbold police officer.

Steve Ringenberg, Fairlawn executive director, confirmed Hughes was a resident of the apartments.

He had lived at Fairlawn for about a year, Ringenberg said.


Napoleon police located Charles Steven Freeman, 51, at an apartment in a building at 734 South Perry Street later that day.

Charles Freeman

Charles Freeman

Robert Weitzel, Napoleon police chief, said the building has five units, including Herm’s Meats– a butcher shop and deli. The apartment is the only living quarters.

Napoleon police and Henry County sheriff deputies went to the South Perry Street building about 3:05 pm.

Weitzel said at first, Freeman would not open the apartment door. Officers set up a perimeter around the structure.

Weitzel said he was in the process of contacting Jay Hanna, Henry County prosecuting attorney, for a search warrant, when, about 15 minutes after their first knock, Freeman came out of the apartment.

Freeman was taken into custody without further incident, and was taken to CCNO.

Weitzel said Freeman has an Archbold address in the Fairlawn Apartments, but Ringenberg said Freeman did not live at Fairlawn.

Also arrested in West Virginia in connection with the case was Joseph Metz, age 39.


The victims, Maxine Stalnaker and her daughter, Mary Friend, were reported missing Dec. 1, 1999.

Michael Smith, prosecuting attorney for Lewis County, W.Va., said at the time, Hughes was the owner of The Plantation, a combination motel, restaurant, and auto service facility in Jane Lew, about five miles north of the county seat town of Weston.

The complaint against the three men alleges they were involved in a criminal enterprise.

The two women reportedly had information about the criminal enterprise written on a paper tablet, kept in a purse, which would be detrimental to the enterprise if it came to light.

Smith said the complaint alleges Hughes ordered Freeman and Metz to kidnap the women from their home, find the tablet, and kill them.

Metz is the son of Friend and the grandson of Stalnaker.

Friend’s car was located in Harrison County, W.Va.

A purse was found by a fisherman in 2002 in Lewis County. It did not contain the tablet.

Never Recovered

Smith said the bodies of Stalnaker and Friend have never been recovered, despite massive search efforts.

As of Monday afternoon, both Freeman and Hughes were being held at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. Plans are to extradite the pair to West Virginia at a future date.

Smith said he could not comment about a possible break or development in the 13-year old case.

“It has been well investigated,” he said.

“Persistence paid off.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *