A 40-year-old Greeley, Colorado, man has been arrested and charged in the death of his fiancee, whose body was found March 3 in a retention pond near the Walmart Distribution Center in North Platte.
William H. Stanback is charged with first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony in the death of Kimberly Ermi.
Ermi died of multiple gunshot wounds, Police Chief Daniel Hudson said during a short press conference Thursday morning.
Stanback was charged in connection with her death early Thursday, two days after he was arrested and charged with felony possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull set March 26 preliminary hearings during Stanback’s first court appearances Wednesday and Thursday in the respective cases.
Stanback remained in the Lincoln County Detention Center Thursday in lieu of $5 million bail in the murder case and $150,000 bail on the weapons charge.
Hudson would not comment on whether a weapon has been recovered. He added that Stanback does not appear to have any connection to the North Platte area and is considered the only suspect at this time.
“The work of the (investigative) team is nothing short of amazing,” Hudson said. “Two weeks ago we had an unidentified female in a pond — no tattoos, no identification, no leads. Today we have an arrest. (But) I will tell you that there is still a lot of work left to be done on this investigation.
“The investigation doesn’t stop today because we made an arrest. The investigation will continue for quite some time. We still have questions and we are still looking for information.”
Hudson shared a stock photo of a black 2018 Jeep Compass — a vehicle that the couple, who had been engaged for about a year, had been traveling in. The vehicle has Colorado plates CIJ-718.
Authorities believe the couple headed west on Interstate 80 from Iowa early Feb. 28 and could have made a brief stop in York that morning.
Authorities also believe that Stanback traveled from the Brady rest stop on eastbound I-80 to Gothenburg in the early afternoon of Feb. 28.
“We are asking anyone who may have given the suspect a ride or saw him in either the west- or eastbound I-80 rest areas, or possibly crossing I-80 on foot” to call the North Platte Police Department, Hudson said.
Walmart Distribution Center security team members on a routine check discovered Ermi’s body in the retention pond in the 3000 block of East State Farm Road. The body was identified last week.
Ermi, 42, was also a Greeley resident.
“Once we were able to identify our victim, things became clear very rapidly,” Hudson said. “Once (the identification) happened, a lot of the pieces of the puzzle began to fall in. The day we got that (identification) we were here until late in the evening, and it was incredible how fast information was coming to us as we were reaching out to a multitude of agencies.”
Telegraph reporter Todd von Kampen contributed to this report.