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ONLY ON FOX 4: What a man bought, that could prove he killed his Cape boyfriend

FOX 4's Senior Reporter Kaitlin Knapp takes a deep dive into 72 pages of court documents that revealed shocking new details from prosecutors in the case of Barry Schmalbach, and his subsequent murder.
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 28, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — New court documents obtained by Fox 4 are revealing shocking details about the disappearance and alleged murder of Cape Coral man, 56-year-old Barry Schmalbach.

72 pages describe a timeline of what police believe happened and why they think 36-year-old Christopher Gregory Davis, Schmalbach's boyfriend, is responsible for his murder.

The last time anyone heard from Barry was on July 19, 2023.

According to court documents, Barry and Christopher were at Cruisers bar in downtown Cape Coral that night. Police say Barry texted his friend Miguel and said, "I need your help, I need to get rid of this [expletive] because I can't take it anymore."

A bartender, who had dated Davis, told police he saw the two arguing at the bar. They paid, Schmalbach walked out and Davis quickly followed behind him, according to documents.

Surveillance video captured them walking back to Schmalbach's Cape Coral condo, where Davis also lived.

Barry Schmalbach

Documents say a neighbor heard "someone getting tossed around in the bedroom," around 8:15 p.m. The neighbor then heard crying, a muffled voice saying "no, no" and then whimpering.

An hour later, the neighbor said they heard a car chirp and later noticed Barry's Jeep was gone.

After searching Davis's phone through a search warrant later, police say Davis searched for "Walmart near me." Around 9:38 p.m., police caught Davis on camera buying a tarp, two rolls of utility tape and chocolate milk.

On July 20, police say Davis tried to impersonate Barry on the phone with PNC Bank, attempting to add an Apple Pay account to the card.

Documents say Davis then rented an Airbnb under his brother's name in Cape Coral. However, police say he didn't sleep there and had only stayed for about four hours.

Christopher Davis

On July 21, another neighbor told police he saw Davis drag something out of the condo and that it sounded like a heavy tarp. The neighbor said the lights were out in the stairwell, but later came back on. Eventually Cape Coral detectives found that Davis's fingerprints were on the bulbs.

On that same day, documents say Davis bought a shovel and pick-axe at a Clewiston hardware store. He also had bought a hand truck in Cape Coral.

Davis then reportedly rented another Airbnb, this time in Clewiston.

The day after he left, the owners said they discovered matted grass as if something had been stored on top. They also found dirt, leaves and sand inside the home. Police later discovered Barry's Jeep had been there, as well as other places across Lee and Hendry counties. Police tracked his movements through license plate readers across several counties.

The next day, July 22, is when family and friends reported Barry missing. His friend, Miguel, who he had texted on July 19, was one of the first.

He had a key to Barry's condo because Barry gave him one following some medical complications. Miguel told police he went to Barry's condo and found it a mess, which he said is extremely unlike him.

That same day, the documents say Davis threw away a shovel and pick-axe behind a Cape Coral store.

Police later talked to Davis, who said Barry left in an Uber from Cruisers. Then he changed his story and said they left together. When he woke up the next morning, Davis claims Barry was gone.

Davis told police Barry texted him, saying he needed space and to stop calling him. However, police say the messages didn't come from Barry, but rather an app "often used by people who want to disguise themselves."

On July 24, police noticed fresh cuts and scratches on his hands, forearms, ankles and shins. Davis said it was the cat and blamed botox for his face being swollen.

Christopher Davis

Once police determined a potential connection to Hendry County, which was on July 26, they sent in the helicopter from the Lee County Sheriff's Office. They did not find Barry at that time.

Days later, on July 28, a landscaper at the condo found what looked like a purse in a storm grate. When they pulled it out, they said it was Barry's wallet.

July 29 is when police searched for Barry by ATV in a rural part of Clewiston, but did not find Barry.

Cape Coral Police brought in special K9s from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The dogs detected human decomposition in Barry's Jeep, which they had seized days prior.

From the day Barry disappeared until August, documents say Davis used Barry's credit cards to buy several things, including car air freshners.

On August 1, police arrested Davis in Cape Coral on a South Carolina warrant. Since then, he has been in a South Carolina prison until this week.

Because of an agreement signed by both state's governors, Davis came back to Cape Coral to face his murder warrant, issued by the Cape Coral Police Department in January 2024.

On Friday, a judge said Davis will be held without bond. Davis will have his arraignment on July 1, which is typically when they will plea guilty or not guilty.

Davis is charged with one count of second-degree murder, one county of tampering with evidence, eight counts of criminal use of personal identification information and