What we know about retired Jacksonville officer arrested in cold case murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After retiring from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, records show, accused killer William R. Baer continued to work in the Jacksonville-area for more than a decade using skills he gained while with the department.

Baer, 64, and Melissa Shaffer, 50, have been arrested and charged with murder in the killing of a man -- Saad Kawaf -- who was stabbed to death in his garage at his home in Deerwood back in 1999. Baer was arrested Wednesday in Jacksonville. Shafer, his then-wife, was arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri.

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An office off Cesery Boulevard is just one of several places the I-team learned Baer offered is investigative services to the public. Records show that at one time his company -- Williams R. Baer Investigations -- was listed on Angie’s List as one of Jacksonville’s top private investigation agencies.

According to business documents, Baer specialized in infidelity and custody cases, surveillance, civil investigations, domestic issues and child care issues. Baer dissolved his private investigation company in 2012.

The I-Team learned that Baer also has ties to another high profile case in 1998, where five Jacksonville officers were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of businessman Sami Safar.

Baer testified as a government witness against former JSO Officer Karl Waldon, who is serving a life sentence for killing a man inside a police cruiser.

Baer was with the Sheriff’s Office for 27 years, joining in 1975 and retiring in 2002.

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