ARNOLD, Mo. — A murder mystery that haunted the Arnold Police Department for nearly 30-years is now coming to light. The two detectives credited with solving the Steve Weltig homicide spoke with FOX 2 about how they cracked the cold case.
The case dates back to April 23, 1993 at what was then Ajax Liquor on Jeffco Boulevard.
The owner of the store, Steven Weltig, 40, had been shot in the head.
For days, Major Case Squad detectives pored over evidence in the case in search of a suspect. There were several leads, including a suspect sketch, but no concrete evidence leading to a killer.
Eventually, the Arnold Police Department took over the case, with different detectives assigned over the years. It wouldn’t be until 2020 that two detectives had the key to solving the case.
Corporal Brett Ackermann and Det. Corporal Josh Wineinger listened to a 2015 police interview with a man named Loril Harp. Harp was known to authorities as an enforcer, someone who collected debts and dealt drugs.
To Ackermann and Wineinger, that interview changed everything.
“The very important part of the interview is the time when nobody is in the room but the suspect. Watching that dead time helped us. I was 100% convinced at that point,” Cpl. Ackermann said. “He was on the phone, saying I’m going to jail, stuff that would indicate he’s guilty.”
The comments were nearly incriminating, Det. Cpl. Wineinger said.
“We looked at each other like, we’ve got to go talk to him,” he said.
The pair then interviewed Harp themselves. He was 68 years old, and in poor health, being cared for at an assisted living center. The detectives shared with Fox 2 audio from that three-hour interview:
Detective Ackermann: “So how did it happen. How did it happen that he got a bullet hole in his head? And you’re the only other person, there Loril?“
Loril Harp: “I’m telling you. I didn’t shoot him. I did not shoot Steve Weltig.”
Detective Ackermann: “Keep going.”
Loril Harp: “I hit him, until he dropped the gun. And then I hit him again, and then I took off out the door.”
That side door is seen in crime scene photos. Detectives believe Harp used that stairwell to make his escape. And Harp fit the description of a man who a witness described leaving the scene the day of the murder.
Detective Ackermann said Harp made other comments in the interview that incriminated him.
“‘I showered, I had a bunch of blood on me.’” And after telling us all that, Corporal josh Wineinger Josh said, paraphrasing the conversation. “‘Does that make you feel better, getting this off your chest?’ ‘ Yeah, it does.’”
That startling admission would crack the case. On September 20, 2020, The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office charged Loril Harp with first degree murder. He was 68 years old. He died the following year.
Solving the murder mystery was a proud accomplishment for the detectives. But one that gave them pause. By the time the Steve Weltig case was closed, both of Weltig’s parents had passed away. His mother, Betty Weltig, died two months before Harp was charged.
“I feel for his parents the most. I think they would have gotten some peace,” Det. Cpl. Wineinger said.
Weltig’s brother, Tony, declined an interview but told Fox 2’s Jasmine Huda he was grateful for the work of the Arnold Police Department, and thanked the detectives for solving the case.
“I know that they really wanted to know who killed their son. And I’m glad we could tell the surviving family members who did it,” Cpl. Ackermann said.