Charges: Elderly Paynesville couple were asphyxiated, strangled by grandson

Gregory Scheel has been charged with two counts of murder.
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The elderly Paynsville couple found dead on Thursday were asphyxiated and strangled by their grandson, charges allege.

The criminal complaint against Gregory Scheel suggests the 33 year old killed Wilbert, 93, and Gloria Scheel, 80, in the home where they all lived at 1525 West Mill Street.

Wilbert (Willie) Scheel was asphyxiated with a plastic bag, while Gloria was strangled with an electrical cord.

They were reported missing on Wednesday after they failed to show for a family dinner.

A family member went to their house at 6:50 p.m. that day. It was there that they spoke to the younger Scheel, who said the couple weren't home and had left earlier in the day, headed to Sauk Rapids.

But just a few minutes after the family member left, surveillance footage showed Scheel leave the property in his grandparents' Toyota Prius, seemingly alone.

Officers searched the house on Thursday after all three had been reported missing, and found spots of possible blood in the garage, which had recently been cleaned.

Deaths of Paynesville 'royalty'

The Prius was found later that day with the grandparents' bodies found inside.

Wilbert (Willie) Scheel's arms and legs were bound and there was a plastic bag over his head, while his wife had electrical cord wrapped around her neck.

They were covered with a carpet and parts of the car's interior had been burned, with the rest of it smelling of gasoline.

Wilbert Scheel died from asphyxiation, an autopsy found, while Gloria Scheel was strangled to death.

Gregory Scheel was found about four hours later about a half-mile from the vehicle. He has been charged with two counts of 2nd degree murder.

The Star Tribune reports the Scheels were beloved in Paynesville, with those who knew them describing them as local "royalty."

According to KSTP, Gregory Scheel has prior convictions for burglary, theft, drugs, DWI, stolen property, domestic assault, abuse and violating an order for protection. 

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