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Man Arrested In Mississippi For Cold Case Murder Of Florida Woman In 1987

Suspect Michael Lapniewski [Photo: FOX 13 Tampa Bay]
Suspect Michael Lapniewski [Photo: FOX 13 Tampa Bay]

Michael Lapniewski was arrested in Mississippi for the cold case murder of Opal Weil in Florida in 1987. Lapniewski was sent back to Florida to face charges of first-degree murder.

Lapniewski and Victim Opal Weil [Photo: Yahoo! Sports]

Lapniewski and Victim Opal Weil [Photo: Yahoo! Sports]

On February 9, 1987, Pinellas County deputies responded to a home in St. Petersburg, Florida and found Opal Weil, then 82, dead. Weil was first discovered by her sister-in-law who reportedly went to visit her after not answering telephone calls. When deputies arrived at the scene, they saw that Weil had visible signs of trauma. The suspect has also reportedly fled the scene already.

According to an article in FOX 13 News, the suspect has entered Weil’s home after removing a windowpane. Reportedly, the home’s phone line has also been cut. Investigators have also found several strands of hair from the scene. This evidence was collected by forensic technicians and they were able to configure a partial DNA profile. However, no matches have been identified at that time.

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Several Years Later

According to Sabes, in December 2020, cold case murder detectives were assigned to Weil’s case. The investigators also commissioned Parabon Nanolabs to perform more genealogical testing. Parabon Nanolabs were able to construct family trees and identify relatives. This narrowed down the list of possible suspects to three men. The detectives were able to narrow down the list further which left Michael Lapniewski, Jr., 55, as the primary suspect. 

In addition, the detectives found out that Lapniewski was currently residing in Waveland, Mississippi. They went to the location where Lapniewski resides and obtained his DNA. The DNA was then submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As expected, Lapniewski’s DNA matched the evidence at the crime scene.

On January 26, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office announced that the deputies have arrested Lapniewski for the cold case murder of Weil in 1987. Authorities also stated that Lapniewski lived half a mile away from Weil at the time of the murder. Lapniewski was sent back to Pinellas County, Florida to face the charges of first-degree murder.

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