SUSPECTS - The First Arrest
From the Ft. Wayne Sentinel January 25, 1904
Joseph Heitger, a prominent young man from Bedford was arrested in connection with the Sarah Schafer murder, and brought to Jeffersonville penitentiary to avoid the possibility of mob violence. Heitger is the young man whose attention Miss Schafer recently refused because Heitger had misbehaved while calling on her not long ago. Detectives believe that they have established a motive for the crime; they are satisfied that the tall man in the long overcoat that was seen lurking in the vicinity of the Johnson House (where Ms. Schafer took her meals) is the murderer and that he was the one who was annoying the victim. The police believe that this man was enamored of Miss Schafer and that she had refused his advances. The police think the man had made up his mind to kill her if she again resisted his advances and watched for her as she left the Johnson House. He kept on the the opposite side of the street until she was alone and then overtook her at Fourteenth and L streets.
According to the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette of January 28, 1904, Joseph Heitger was released January 27 and left Bedford as several people gave an alibi for him.
A Second Suspect Arrested
From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette January 28, 1904
Harry Behr was arrested in connection with the murder of Sarah Schaefer after being found with blood-stained clothing and scratches on his face. The family of Sarah Schaefer said that she could have hardly scratched the face of her assailant because she continuously bit her nails down to the quick. Bedford police officers point to Behr's actions as the motive for his arrest. The cuts on his face were accounted for as being received during a fight a a polling place during an election on January 19. After that Behr apparently smoked some opium and awoke screaming for someone that he had a woman's blood on his clothing and that he had killed a woman. Behr was six feet two inches, clean-shaven with dark hair and dark eyes. On the evening of the murder three men said they saw a strange red-haired man with a sandy complexion leave Bedford on the southern railroad train.
Mr. Behr was eventually released for lack of evidence.
A Third Arrest
From the Fort Wayne Sentinel February 10, 1904
A man by the name of James McDonald was arrested in February 1904. He said he saw Sarah Schaefer at 6:30, just before she was killed. He saw a man and woman talking in the alley where the crime occurred though he heard no loud words. Asked why he kept quiet about what he knew for over a week, he said he wanted to be sure his memory wasn't playing tricks on him. McDonald lived in Bedford for seven years and had been in jail several times in that city and admitted to being arrested in different cities for vagrancy.
He was acquitted by a jury on May 27, 1904.
Another suspect in August 1906 - Ernest Tanksley
From the Fort Wayne Sentinel August 29,1906
Ernest Tanksley is expected to arrive late today with Nellie Rainey, the Heltonville girl whom Tanksley is charged with having kidnapped. Though the present charge against Tanksley is the abduction of Miss Rainey, the police will try to find out if he has any knowledge as to who murdered Sarah Schafer. When charged by the police with guilty knowledge of Miss Schafer's murder, Tanksley proclaimed his innocence. Miss Rainey says she will commit suicide before she will testify against Tanksley. Three years ago his relations with the Rainey girl became known and he left home and went to Bedford and worked there in hopes of hushing the disgrace. It is believed he decided the best way to clear his family of disgrace was to kill the Rainey girl.
He wrote her a letter asking her to meet him in Bedford on a certain alley corner on the night of January 21. 1904. It was at this very spot and time that Sarah Schafer was killed. The Rainey girl supposedly looks a lot like Sarah Schafer in appearance and the police believe that Tanksley simply made a mistake and killed Miss Scharer thinking he was getting Nellie Rainey out of the way. The night was dark and such a mistake could easily have been made. Tanksley returned to his room that night with fresh, bloody scratches on his face. His roommate, Earl Hunter, asked him how his face became bruised. He did not reply. Late that night he awoke his roommate by poking a bundle of clothes into a stove. Hunter asked him what he was doing and an evasive reply was given.
I can't find a follow up on this story so I'm not sure what happened to Tanksley.
From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette January 19, 1905
On January 15, 1905 Frank Evans and William Elmer Browning were arrested on warrants sworn out by a city attorney, charging them with the murder of Miss Sarah Schaefer on the night of January 21 last. Evans was arrested at a stone mill where he was at work, while Browning was arrested at home. They were taken in and questioned for an hour without result. Browning's ex-wife said he made a confession to her that he and Evans committed the murder. After they were questioned thoroughly they were released as police came to the conclusion the story told by Browning's ex-wife was a fake.
From the Fort Wayne Sentinel December 28, 1906
In December 1906 someone named George Berger, alias Frank Harris, claims he killed Sarah Schaefer and he was examined and questioned by officials. Sarah Schaefer's brother was present for the interrogation and stated he was inclined to believe Berger's story.
From the Fort Wayne Evening Sentinel January 11, 1907
In January 1907 George Berger, alias Frank Harris, pleaded guilty of attempting to kill an Elkhart, Indiana police sergeant after he had been arrested for forgery. He still asserted that he killed Sarah Schaefer. He was sent to prison for two to fourteen years for the attempted murder of the policeman.
I could find no further mention of what happened to him with regards to the murder of Sarah Schaefer.
Thus far, that's the last I could find about any other suspects. To this day, the murder remains unsolved.
Sorry about the length but I tried to condense it as much as possible to include arrests that were made in the case. Also, in looking up articles about this case, Ms. Schafer's last name was also spelled as Schaefer and Schaeffer.