NEWS RELEASE #: 16-146
A Sarasota County jury convicted John Mellquist of 2nd Degree Murder in connection with the 2003 murder of Anneliese Schweickardt on Tuesday.
The investigation began as a missing person's case in October 2003, when a friend of the victim reported that she stopped receiving regular contact from Ms. Schweickardt back in April. Schweickardt was in the process of evicting Mellquist, who rented a room in her Sarasota home. When initially contacted, Mellquist gave different accounts of her possible whereabouts. It was later learned that he forged and cashed checks from her bank account and used her vehicle after she had disappeared.
In 2003, detectives and forensic technicians conducted an exhaustive search of the victim's home and surrounding area which revealed signs of a violent encounter inside the home, including significant blood stain evidence that indicated she was likely murdered. These discoveries coupled with what detectives believe were lies during their questioning of Mellquist led them to suspect that he had killed her. Despite years of investigation, the victim's body has never been found. Absent the body and no immediate family such as children, it took years for investigators to build a DNA profile of the victim from personal items left in the residence and put the case together. Advancement in DNA testing and the capabilities of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) lab led detectives to establish enough probable cause to arrest Mellquist in 2013.
Mellquist's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 29th before Sarasota County Circuit Judge Charles Roberts. The sheriff's office would like to compliment the detectives, forensic technicians and members of the 12th Judicial Circuit Office of the State Attorney who dedicated several years of hard work in bringing a resolution to this case.