BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 9 (AP) — A “good, strong case” has been built up against a 39-year-old blonde charged with murdering an elderly missionary, an officer reported today.
Detective R. A. McMurdo made the statement after two days of questioning Mrs. Cathrin Bystrom, former Fairbanks, Alaska, a company and sightseeing tour operator.
Mrs. Bystrom and James Lee McGraw, 29, who drove for her in Alaska, are accused of shooting to death Miss Lillian Euphemia Schliefer. Both deny any connection with the slaying.
The 70-year-old church worker’s nearly nude body was found floating in a shallow lake at Alexander City, Ala., Feb. 25.
Mrs. Bystrom admitted to police that she drove Miss Schliefer from Waco to Birmingham. She asserted, however, that the missionary left her here Feb. 22 when her car developed motor trouble.
State toxicologists at Auburn, Ala., are making microscopic examination of evidence taken from Mrs. Bystrom’s automobile in an effort to produce clues to Miss Schliefer’s savage killing.
Her body was bound hand and foot when located. She had been shot to death while eating, an autopsy showed.
Miss Schliefer was a missionary for the Davidian Branch of the Seventh-Day Adventists church. She had been visiting at a religious community near Waco for several months when she engaged a ride with Mrs. Bystrom to Miami, police said.