Eau Claire murder victim knew suspected killer for decades, friends say

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - Friends of Frederick Brian Harvey said he was making payments to buy his mobile home from accused killer Larry Fernandez and that the two knew each other for decades.

Police arrested Larry Fernandez of Ladysmith Friday in connection with the disappearance of Harvey.

Harvey, who last seen on August 13, at a convenience store, was reported missing by family Aug. 28.

Police said after investigating several leads, the case took a twist.

Friday Fernandez was arrested and booked in jail for First Degree Intentional Homicide, with bail set at $1 million.

"It was a bummer, I was down, mind always racing, like trying to put a puzzle together," "Brian" Harvey's friend of 22 years and former roommate Jason Champagne said about the disappearance.

"Brian's not the type of person just to get up and leave town or anything like that. He's not like that, because he's got good friends here, he's got family." Champagne said.

With Harvey missing for the past two months, Champagne said he knew who had to be involved.

"I knew Larry (Fernandez) had something to do with it. Because Brian told me a few months ago, that if anything did ever happen to him, that Larry is the cause. Larry did it.," he said.

Harvey lived at the Terrace Hill Mobile Home Park, where its manager said he had just made his last payment for his home to his now-suspected killer Larry Fernandez.

Champagne said harvey bought this mobile home and a car from Fernandez, and the two knew eachother for about 20 years.

Champagne said he told police about Fernandez's possible connection to the case.

"I felt uncomfortable around Larry ... You meet somebody for the first time and that's the last time you see that person because you don't want to make friends with him or whatever. That's how I felt about Larry."

Police have not yet said if Harvey's body was found, or exactly what Fernandez did, only that the crime happened in Eau Claire.

"It was shock, it's a big relief now off my back now that they got Larry, he did have some involvement in Brian's disappearance and everything, and I'm just glad that they got him, that they got Larry."

Saturday Champagne sat, waiting for answers.

"I'd like to know where (Harvey's body is), so he can be laid to rest and everything. Have a wake and a funeral and everything for him."

The Rusk County Sheriff said a body found on railroad tracks in Ladysmith, does not appear to be related to the case.

Eau Claire Police said they expect to release more information Monday.