Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 16, 2011

Arraignment likely today in killing

Suspect Schwander tells police he killed girl in shack off Beitner Street

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City teen is expected to be arraigned today in the June 2 slaying of Carly Lewis.

Robert Jensen Schwander, 17, remained in the Grand Traverse County Jail on Wednesday pending criminal charges. Police said Schwander confessed Tuesday to killing Carly, 16, in an abandoned shack off Beitner Street in Traverse City.

Grand Traverse County prosecutors had yet to file charges against Schwander by Wednesday afternoon. An 86th District judge likely will arraign Schwander today in Traverse City, said his attorney, Clarence Gomery.

Gomery said he visited Schwander on Wednesday in jail.

"He indicated to me that this was a horrible accident," said Gomery, who added that Schwander did not tell him he killed Carly. "My client is very distraught. He was very upset. His family's upset. And I think the weight and the seriousness of this event has caught up with him."

Carly was last seen at 6 p.m. on June 2, shortly before she planned to meet Schwander at Glen's Market on East Eighth Street. Traverse City police believe the teens met there, then went to the Beitner Street shack near Woodmere Avenue.

There was an altercation inside the vacant shack, and police believe Schwander killed Carly. Authorities have yet to disclose how Carly died, but police removed some items from the structure.

"He indicated that he caused her some trauma," city police Capt. Brian Heffner said.

An autopsy is being conducted in Grand Rapids, authorities said.

Police said Carly's body lay in the shack for two days before her killer moved the remains to a sand pile at Traverse City's public works complex off Barlow Street. On Tuesday evening, authorities found Carly's body in the sand pile.

The discovery marked the end of a nearly two-week probe into Carly's disappearance.

"Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario panned out," Heffner said.

Gomery expects to learn more details after prosecutors file charges.

"Given my brief discussion with police and Mr. Schwander, there appears to be some additional investigation and some additional questions that need to be answered and facts explored, which will probably become more apparent after an autopsy and an investigation by the crime lab," he said.

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