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Second-degree murder charge filed in missing person case

Cape resident Barry Schmalbach, 56, has not been seen or heard from since the evening of July 19, 2023, near his home in the 1800 block of Beach Parkway East.

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 26, 2024

A Cape Coral man faces multiple charges in a missing persons case, including second degree murder.

Christopher Davis, 35, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of tampering with evidence, and nine counts of fraudulent use of personal identification of a deceased individual, Cape Coral Police Department Chief Anthony Sizemore announced this morning.

Cape resident Barry Schmalbach, 56, was last seen in July. Davis was identified as Schmalbach’s boyfriend.

“Detectives and forensic personnel have been investigating, collecting a massive amount of physical evidence, obtaining witness statements, collecting and examining digital forensic evidence, and working with the prosecutors from the State Attorney’s Office all the way,” Sizemore said.

“And we have a mountain of evidence.”

Sizemore said the arrest was made in conjunction with the FBI, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and other Florida law enforcement partners.

He also sent a message to Schmalbach’s family.

“Our hearts go out to you for this unfathomable and senseless tragedy,” Sizemore said. “But rest assured the work has only begun. We will be here throughout the rest of the prosecution process along with you.

“And to the community as a whole, I hope and pray you never need the services in these types of investigations. However, know with 100 percent certainty, we will never stop, we will never give up, and we will always continue to fight for you.”

Sizemore said they have not yet found Schmalbach’s remains, that it has been a challenge, but that the search is of utmost importance.

Schmalbach has not been seen or heard from since the evening of July 19, 2023, near his home in the 1800 block of Beach Parkway East.

Davis called CCPD on July 22 to report Schmalbach missing. Sizemore said that Davis didn’t speak of any ongoing situation that would result in Schmalbach taking off, and said he even “pulled back” on his comments during the end of the call.

Davis is currently in custody in South Carolina for unrelated causes. Sizemore said Davis had not been served the arrest warrant as of the press conference, but that it would be “very soon.”

Sizemore said it will be determined at a later time when Davis will be extradited to Florida.

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