2018 WI Deaths

As of September 29th, 51 Wisconsin lives have been lost to domestic violence homicide in 2018. That’s one person killed every 5.3 days. If that pace continues, 69 lives are projected to be lost this year. 10% of victims were age 18 or under.

January 7th, 2018  Officer Involved Shooting – Sparta

The state’s Department of Criminal Investigation has released the names of the people involved in a deputy-involved shooting in Sparta Sunday.

In a statement, the DCI said that Deputy Jesse Murphy fatally shot 21-year-old Skyler D. Burnette of Sparta.

Sparta Police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic violence 9-1-1 call Sunday morning around 10 a.m. at a residence at 1005 Saint Anne Street in Sparta.

There authorities found Burnette threatening a woman with a knife. During the incident, Deputy Murphy fired his weapon, fatally wounding Burnette. He died at the scene.

The DCI said in the statement that Burnette was on active supervision at the time of the incident.

Deputy Murphy, who was hired in 2006 by Monroe County, is on paid administrative leave per department policy.

Three Sparta Police officers were on the scene at the time-Sgt. Booker T. Ferguson, Officer Marc Nelson, and Officer Chris Welker.

The DCI statement said they’re still collecting evidence in the incident and plan to turn over their report to the Monroe County District Attorney at the end of their investigation.

January 9th, 2018 Sara Schmidt, Age 38 – Harrison

PREVENT DOMESTIC HOMICIDE: Create law that removes bond option for felony DV/SA charges

Before Robert Schmidt was charged Jan. 4 with viciously attacking his wife, police never had contact with the couple. They died in an apparent murder-suicide less than a week later.

But advocates warn that a lack of police contact doesn’t indicate there weren’t previous instances of abuse.

“Arrest record is something, but it’s not everything,” said Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs Executive Director Beth Schnorr.

Investigators believe Robert Schmidt fatally shot his wife Sara Schmidt on Tuesday evening outside his parents’ home in the town of Harrison, according to Calumet County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Brett Bowe.

Robert Schmidt — who was ordered not to have contact with his wife or possess guns after he was charged Jan. 4 with two domestic violence felonies in which she was the victim — had been living at the residence, Bowe said.

He had been released after posting a $10,000 cash bond on Jan. 5, the same day his wife filed for divorce, according to court records. Calumet County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark D. Wiegert said Sara Schmidt would have been notified he had been released.

“We had nothing on him” before the criminal case that was charged last week, Bowe said.

Investigators are looking into why Sara Schmidt was at the residence.

Autopsies were scheduled for Thursday. Police said previously that Robert Schmidt died of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound, and Sara Schmidt was found in her vehicle outside the residence, dead from at least one gunshot wound.

There are multiple witnesses to the shooting, Bowe said.

The gun Robert Schmidt used in Tuesday’s shooting was not the same one referenced in the Jan. 4 criminal complaint in which he was charged in Calumet County with first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping, Bowe said. Sara Schmidt told an investigator Robert Schmidt had recently purchased a black handgun and on Dec. 31 had “held a gun to her head, … tied her up with cord and duct tape, cut off her clothes” and sexually assaulted her, according to the complaint.

Schmidt admitted to pointing the gun at his wife multiple times, tying her to the bed, and assaulting her. He also told authorities he had purchased a tracking device for his wife’s car about a month earlier because he was suspicious of her relationship with a coworker, the complaint stated.

That gun had been confiscated by police as a result of the criminal charges he was facing, Bowe said. Investigators are looking into where he got the gun used Tuesday.

Bowe said police can’t take away guns in every domestic violence situation, including cases that don’t involve any physical contact. If it’s a situation where guns aren’t used but the victim is afraid, most of the time authorities will try to have those guns removed from the residence and usually placed with a third-party, he said.

“We as law enforcement can’t actually confiscate a weapon unless it’s used or there’s a threat of using it,” he said.

Robert Schmidt was also put on a GPS monitoring bracelet so authorities could monitor where he was, according to Bowe and court records. Bowe said his agency was not notified of any violations of the GPS monitoring system.

Schnorr said the level of violence present in the criminal complaint is something she’s seen in previous cases.

“We work with so many women that we believe are in the same situation,” Schnorr said. “You just never know. So we take safety planning very seriously with every single victim that we work with because we know that this is a potential, and when there are firearms involved, that makes it even more so.”

There are warning signs of escalating controlling behavior, she said, including stalking a victim and exhibiting jealous and victim-blaming behavior.

She said there are systemic changes that need to happen, from how young men are raised and how they view women, to gun control and making victims feel safe contacting authorities.

Schnorr also said it’s good to have bond provisions that prohibit contact with a victim or possession of a gun but also said many perpetrators will not follow those rules.

“When they have escalated to the point where they feel they have a right to control their partner and dictate everything that their partner does, they also do not have respect for those kinds of orders and so it takes a team to enforce that,” she said.

She advocated using a variety of tools including restraining orders, bond conditions, safety planning, prevention and follow up with victims.

“After a homicide, many times we focus on what the victim did or didn’t do and that just is not what we need to do. … We have to focus on why the abuser thought he had the right to take a life and what we can do better from Harbor House on up,” Schnorr said.

 

January 12th, 2018  Israel Garcia-Alcantara, Age 25 – Cashton

Obituary

A Cashton man admitted fatally shooting another man with a stolen firearm early Friday in eastern Monroe County, according to police reports.

Adalberto Lopez, 35, took a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition from the office of a farm’s milk parlor where he works and drove to a dairy farm along Hwy. D in the town of Jefferson to find Israel Alcantara, 25, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department report.

Lopez’s wife left the marriage on Dec. 30 and moved in with Alcantara.

At the dairy farm, Alcantara approached Lopez’s car and began punching the windshield, window and side mirror before returning to the milking parlor.

Lopez said he waited for Alcantara to return to the car and shot him as he exited the building about 4:45 a.m., according to the report. Alcantara ran back to the milking parlor, and Lopez followed until he saw his victim drop to the floor.

Alcantara died at the scene.

Lopez fled and crashed his car before it broke down in Juneau County. A passerby stopped to help before authorities arrested him, according to the report.

Lopez is jailed in Monroe County and faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment and recklessly endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon when he appears Feb. 20 in Monroe County Circuit Court.

 

January 15th, 2018  Police Pursuit Crash,  Saratoga

A Town of Saratoga man crashed his vehicle and died in Wood County Monday night while fleeing from police, according to the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

Wood County deputies responded to a physical domestic disturbance between 57-year-old Louis Hoffman and a woman at a home in the Town of Saratoga around 9:45 p.m. Monday.

Hoffman left the home before law enforcement arrived. His vehicle was quickly located by deputies, who attempted to stop him on State Highway 73, near Carousel Court. Hoffman did not stop and as he neared the intersection of 48th Street and Spruce Avenue, he suddenly accelerated to a high rate of speed, according to a press release.

Hoffman hit a tree and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation.

The Wood County Sheriff’s Department got help from the Wisconsin Rapids Police, Wisconsin State Patrol, Nekoosa Police, Wood County Rescue and Grand Rapids Fire Department.

January 20th, 2018  Cierra Hardrath, Age 21 – Owen, WI &  Duane Lopez Jr.,  Age 25 – Medford

A 26-year-old Owen man told police he tracked his fiancee to a house in Abbotsford and shot her to death because he believed she was cheating on him, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

Tyler Zimmerman told officers he then panicked and shot a man who was standing nearby, then fired his handgun at that man’s girlfriend as he was fleeing the house, according to the complaint. Moments later he left a voicemail for his boss and posted a message on Facebook in apparent reference to the shootings, police said.

Zimmerman’s fiancee, Cierra Hardrath, 21, and Duane Lopez Jr., 25, died from gunshot wounds early Saturday, according to Colby-Abbotsford police. Megan Dupee, 18, was taken to Marshfield Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Police Chief Jason Bauer.

Police rushed to the scene at 406 E. Maple St. after Dupee called 911 at 3:02 a.m. Saturday, according to reports.

Police identified the shooter as Zimmerman, who was engaged to and lived with Hardrath in Owen. The two had been together for four years, according to the criminal complaint.

Dupee and Lopez were engaged to be married and had no affiliation with Zimmerman, according to police.

The owner of the Abbotsford house where the shooting took place, Parker Knautz, also was there with his two children at the time, but they were unharmed, according to authorities. Knautz did not know Zimmerman personally, police said.

Zimmerman returned to the Abbotsford house while police were investigating, still holding the .40-caliber handgun investigators believe he used to shoot the victims, the complaint said. An officer ordered him to drop the gun, which he did, and Zimmerman surrendered without a struggle.

Zimmerman told police, according to the criminal complaint, that he was concerned that Hardrath was cheating on him. She had told him she was going to a friend's house Friday night, but he found through Facebook Messenger that she had been talking to other men. Zimmerman said he tracked Hardrath through the "Find my iPhone" app on her iPad.

According to the criminal complaint:

Zimmerman drove to the house in Abbotsford and encountered Lopez, who was staying in the home with Dupee. After a short exchange, Lopez allowed Zimmerman inside. He found Hardrath sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, where he shot her after a short conversation, the complaint said. Zimmerman said he panicked and shot Lopez, who was standing outside the bedroom. As he left the residence, he also shot Dupee, who was at the bottom of the stairs. He ran from the house and to his truck and drove away to his workplace.

He told police that he then called his boss and left a message, as well as posting to Facebook: "Farewell everyone, I'm sorry for all that I have hurt from this, someone pick up Maisy and derby for me." The names referred to his pets at his home in Owen.

Zimmerman was referred to the Marathon County District Attorney’s Office on two counts of intentional first-degree homicide and one count of attempted intentional first degree homicide and booked into the Marathon County Jail. A judge on Monday ordered him held on a $1 million bond and scheduled his next court date for Friday.

January 22nd, 2018  Unnamed Baby Girl, Age 2 months - Two Rivers

Matthew Brown-Edwards, 22, of Two Rivers, is being held in Manitowoc County Jail for allegedly abusing is girlfriend's infant daughter, who eventually died.

Two Rivers Police Department officials say the 8-week-old baby died at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. Autopsy results are not complete, but Two Rivers Assistant Police Chief Brian Kohlmeier said they believe child abuse led to the baby's death, but he did not share additional details on Monday.

Last week, police arrested Brown-Edwards on suspicion of abusing his girlfriend’s infant, who was found unconscious and not breathing. Kohlmeier said he was arrested on charges of physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm, failure to render aid and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the police department, officers were called to a home on the north side of Two Rivers at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for the report of an infant who was unconscious and not breathing. The baby was taken by helicopter to Children’s Hospital.

Kohlmeier said police will work with the Manitowoc County District Attorney's office to determine if more charges will be filed once autopsy results are available. Police say they do not believe the abuse was caused by any kind of altercation.

The assistant chief said a bail of $150,000 was set at a recent hearing. Brown-Edwards is expected to make a court appearance at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 29.

January 22nd, 2018  Unnamed Baby Boy, Age 3 weeks, Green Bay

A 31-year-old Green Bay man was charged Thursday in Brown County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide for the death of his 23-day-old son.

Authorities learned of the baby's death Monday when they were called to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. The baby had been in Jeremiah Thomas' care since 8 a.m. that day.

Assistant District Attorney Wendy W. Lemkuil said Thomas was his son's only caregiver on Monday. The baby is identified in court records as I.J.T.

Thomas at first denied involvement in the baby's death. He later told authorities several different ways he may hurt his son, "while ultimately confessing to accidentally killing his son,” Lemkuil said.

The three-week-old baby's injuries included two skull fractures, 10 of his 12 ribs were broken, and he had several other broken bones and bruises, Lemkuil said.

A cerebral edema, or a swelling of the brain, was the cause of death, Lemkuil said.

Dr. Agnieszka Rogalska of the Dane County Medical Examiner's office told authorities that she believed the injuries were "non-accidental," according to a criminal complaint.

Lemkuil said authorities are also investigating the death of another child in a house in Texas that Thomas lived in.

The complaint states Thomas initially told authorities he may have “accidentally smothered or suffocated” the boy when they were sleeping together. He told authorities he woke up and called 911.

While talking to law enforcement, Thomas  later said he dropped the baby on two occasions. He also admitted to picking the boy up by his feet and spanking him after he urinated on Thomas, and to “squeezing” the baby too tight around the ribs when picking him up to massage the boy's left side in an effort to help the child’s constipation.

The baby’s mother told authorities the child was not constipated when Thomas picked him up, but did have gas. She told authorities she instructed Thomas how to care for the baby and Thomas assured her he had experience taking care of children.

Thomas told authorities he saw the baby was not breathing as he prepared to take him back to his mother’s house.

Thomas is being held in the Brown County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond. His next court appearance is at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

January 26th, 2018  Dontrel Burnett, Age 24, Milwaukee

 

 

MENOMONEE FALLS -- 23-year-old Demetrius Gordon is now charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Dontrel Burnett of Milwaukee. Gordon faces a single count of first degree intentional homicide in this case.

Burnett was fatally shot near the intersection of Pilgrim Rd. and Megal Dr. in Menomonee Falls on Friday afternoon, Jan. 26. Prosecutors say Gordon tracked Burnett's car as he was driving Gordon's ex-girlfriend to work.

According to the criminal complaint, Burnett was in a vehicle with two other passengers on Friday afternoon. One was the ex-girlfriend of Gordon. The complaint indicates Gordon is the father of the woman's child and "they broke up three weeks prior."

The complaint indicates Burnett was driving northbound on I-41 and exited at Pilgrim Rd. He and his passengers were apparently concerned for their safety due to Gordon's driving -- who had been driving nearby. At Pilgrim and Megal, Gordon "pulled up directly behind Burnett's vehicle," the complaint says. Burnett stepped out and walked toward Gordon's car. One of the witnesses inside Burnett's vehicle said he saw Gordon "reach over with his right hand." That is when Burnett started to "run away from both cars, and the defendant began shooting at Burnett." The witness observed Burnett "stop and fall."

"I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what to say," Richard Burnett, Dontrel's father said. "I would never think that I would be a part of a club of a parent that would bury his son or his daughter. He was just a kind, giving, loving person."

Family members said the two men had issues in the past.

"Why did you take my son? He was a special kid. I don't know what to say to you man but I hope God deals with you accordingly and you serve justice man," Richard Burnett said.

The complaint indicates after the shooting, Gordon's vehicle then drove away from the scene.

Officials say on Sunday, Jan. 28, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Gordon -- and around 6:30 p.m., he was taken into custody. Gordon is being held at the Waukesha County Jail.

Gordon made his initial appearance in court on Monday, Jan. 29. A hearing was set for Feb. 14. Cash bond was set at $500,000.

Meanwhile, Menomonee Falls police are urging anyone who was a witness to this Friday incident to call them at 262-532-8700.

Also, investigators are on the lookout for the vehicle operated by Gordon at the time of the shooting. Officials say it is a gold 1997 Chevrolet Malibu, 4-door with Wisconsin license ABV-8003.

January 31st, 2018  Maribel Yessenia Ruiz Flores, Age 36, Whitewater

 

Maribel Ruiz-Flores

Obituary

The two fatal victims in a murder-suicide that occurred in Fort Atkinson earlier this week have been identified as a Whitewater couple.

The pair of 36-year-olds were identified as Maribel Yessenia Ruiz Flores and Sillvestre Ramirez Linares. According to reports, Ruiz was shot and killed by Ramirez Wednesday morning after an altercation outside of an apartment complex on S. Third Street. Later that day, Ramirez was found dead in his vehicle in the Town of Cold Spring from a suspected gunshot wound.

Initial reports indicated the couple was married, however further investigation revealed the two were never officially married although they had been together for nearly 18 years and share two children. Processing of the investigation and evidence is still underway.

As a Milwaukee man charged with killing his teen cousin fights his arrest in court, recent reports from state child welfare officials show a worker had visited the girl's guardians to investigate possible abuse three days before she died.

February 15th, 2018  Jada Wright, Age 14 - Milwaukee

Christopher Ward, 19, was charged earlier this year with second-degree reckless homicide in the death of his cousin, 14-year-old Jada Wright, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.

Ward, who has pleaded not guilty, is arguing his arrest was illegal, noting police questioned everyone in the house about Jada's death, according to a court filing.

After Ward was arrested, he told police he had become frustrated with Jada when trying to feed her using a tube and punched her, the complaint says.

A judge was expected to rule on the motion Friday, but the hearing was moved to July 20 because another trial was underway in the courtroom.

Jada's parents are deceased. Ward's mother became Jada's legal guardian in late September and Ward then became the teen's "personal care worker," the complaint says.

Before Jada's death, child welfare workers received one call alleging the teen was being abused in her current home, according to a report from the state Department of Children and Families.

A worker with the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services determined Jada Wright was safe after a home visit with her, her guardians and two of her cousins.

The home visit occurred on Feb. 12, Jada's birthday. She died three days later.

After her death, child welfare officials found "insufficient evidence" of neglect of Jada and determined her minor relatives were safe and could remain in the home, according to the report.

The agency closed the case and referred her guardian's family to community resources.

The 90-day summary report from the state, required by law to be made public, also noted child welfare officials had received numerous allegations of past neglect by Jada's mother, who is now deceased. In all of those cases, the agency determined Jada and her siblings were safe.

Court records and the child welfare summary report do not indicate when Jada's mother died.

February 20th, 2018  Lyle Leith, Age 77, Wausau

 

Obituary

WAUSAU - A man facing disorderly conduct charges reportedly threatened the 77-year-old Wausau man who was found dead earlier this week, telling the victim's daughter "You will all pay."

Lee A. Franck, 56, of Niagara in Florence County, appeared in court Thursday on two counts of disorderly conduct as a repeat domestic abuser. A judge set a $750,000 cash bond.

Lyle Leith was found dead in his garage along Kickbusch Street by his daughter on Tuesday morning. Police have been investigating the incident as a homicide but have not released a cause of death.

Wausau police announced Wednesday night that they searched a home in Florence County and arrested a man in the home on suspicion of felony domestic violence. They did not elaborate on his connection to Leith's death.

According to the criminal complaint:

► Franck had been in a relationship with Leith's daughter, who is not named, and lived with her off and on in Wausau. Most recently, he lived with her from mid-January to Feb. 17.

► On Feb. 17, Franck and the woman argued at home about their relationship and the care of her mother, who is bedridden with a terminal condition. Leith was also present and tried to de-escalate the situation, but Franck told him to leave and mind his own business. In defending her father, Leith, the woman asked Franck to leave. Franck told Leith and the woman, "You will all pay," and said God is the only one who could judge him.

► Franck slowly gathered his belongings and took them to his car, then sat in the vehicle outside the woman's home until 11:30 p.m. before leaving. The woman believed he had been drinking and using prescription medications at the time.

► The next day, the woman had several conversations with Franck via the mobile phone app FaceTime. Franck was screaming at her and said she and her family were killing her mother. Franck repeatedly threatened her, including comments that she was “f---ing with the wrong person” and that he would “hurt you to the point you can’t return from it.” He insulted her family and called Leith “worthless” and “useless,” accusing him of wanting his ex-wife dead. He said he hoped his former girlfriend and her family would die. He also said to the woman, “Maybe it will all come true for you.”

► The woman also received disturbing text messages from Franck on Feb. 18, including one that states, in part, "You better be prepared before I come and kick your butt.” He also reiterated via text that she “f---ed with the wrong person.” The woman responded to Franck with a text message saying she was afraid of him.

► The woman informed police that she would seek a restraining order against Franck with Leith's help.

Franck was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2008 and placed on three years of probation and ordered to undergo counseling, according to online Marathon County court records. In 2013, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $200 after he was accused of getting in a fight with his brother-in-law while armed with a knife.

He is scheduled to appear in court next for a review hearing on Feb. 28.

March 10th, 2018  Jessica Johnson, Age 32, Holmen
March 10th, 2018 , Gabriela Farias, Age 1, Holmen

A baby girl and a woman were found dead in Ocala National Forest on Saturday morning and the shooter, the little girl's father, later died of a self-inflicted wound in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said.

Investigators said Kevin Benjamin Olesen Farias, 26 of Minnesota shot and killed Jessica Johnson, 33, and their 1-year-old daughter Gabriela Farias.

Farias later died in a hospital, deputies said Monday morning.

They all had gunshot wounds, Marion County Sheriff’s spokesman Paul Bloom said Saturday.

Johnson and Gabriela are from Wisconsin, Bloom said.

While details of the attack haven’t been made public, deputies were called Saturday to an area near Forest Road 88, about 2 miles north of State Road 40, after a person in the area found the man and the victims at 10:52 a.m.

March 12th, 2018 , Cody Nachtrab, Age 23, Deer Creek

Obituary

A Deer Creek woman accused of starting a house fire that killed her developmentally disabled brother last week was charged Monday with first-degree reckless homicide, arson and bail jumping.

Dana L. Nachtrab, 27, was ordered held on a $300,000 cash bond with conditions including that she not possess any devices capable of lighting a fire.

Her brother Cody Nachtrab, 23, was found dead inside the burning home at W10721 Pine Road in Deer Creek. Dana Nachtrab's husband tried to get Cody out of the home but her brother was afraid of the fire and didn't understand the danger, Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis said in court Monday. He died of smoke inhalation.

 The fire was reported at 11:20 p.m. on March 12.

Dana Nachtrab, her husband and their 2-year-old child escaped the blaze, Tempelis said.

The family lives in the residence, which her mother owned. Her mother was not home.

The house was destroyed and Cody killed in the fire that authorities say Dana Nachtrab started in a fit of anger.

Tempelis said that in a text conversation she said she wanted to burn the house down and expressed that she was frustrated and upset. Later that day, the family dog died, and she and her husband argued about their relationship, Tempelis said.

"She gets very angry, goes outside to a fire pit where they had a fire that was apparently going and then comes back in and does what she had texted previous that day when she indicated that she was going to start the house on fire," Tempelis said.

Nachtrab lit either a winter sock or glove, which started a "very intense" fire, Tempelis  said.

According to the criminal complaint:

Nachtrab's husband told investigators that he came home when she called him to say that the family dog had died. He was in his bedroom when she came into the room and told him there was a fire in her mother's room. He tried to put out the fire with water and soda but ultimately told her to take their daughter out of the home.

He found Cody in his bedroom with a blanket over his head and shouted for him to get out. At one point, he told police, Cody started going toward the door but turned around saying, "Bed, bed, bed." When he tried to grab Cody to pull him out, Cody got angry and swung at him, he said.

He said when he looked back he could only see black smoke. That's when he left the residence.

Nachtrab allowed investigators to search her phone, which was how they found the text message — sent about eight hours before the fire was reported — that referenced her lighting the house on fire.

She told police she had been struggling with a lot of stress. She said she was still dealing with her father's death in a July 2017 crash and was responsible for taking care of Cody, who would go into a rage and at times become abusive. She also described a very troubled relationship with her husband.

She said she started the fire to prove a point after an argument with her husband over her talking with an ex-boyfriend — but she didn't intend for it to grow so big so quickly.

She said she called 911 when she was outside and at that point thick black smoke was coming from the patio door she had left through.

She was booked into the Outagamie County Jail just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

A preliminary hearing was set for March 27.

She also made her initial appearance Monday in a separate misdemeanor case for which she was already scheduled to be in court. She's facing charges of battery and disorderly conduct, both as domestic abuse, in the Oct. 10 call to the home in which she's accused of hitting her husband.

March 22nd, 2018, Alexander Woodworth, 24, Eau Claire

Obituary

The Eau Claire man whose body was found in a car in rural Dunn County last Friday, was stabbed to death.

That's one of many new details News 18 learned Wednesday at a bond hearing held for the woman suspected of killing him.

Ezra McCandless, from Stanley, appeared in court via video conference from the Dunn County Jail on Wednesday. She's held on possible first degree murder charges for the death of a man officials called "her significant other," Alexander Woodworth.

"The provisional autopsy report indicates that the deceased victim was stabbed 16 different times," said Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf. "The information that we have from the defendant in this case is that she is claiming that the deceased victim attacked her, but then also informed law enforcement after she wanted it to stop she carved the word "boy" into her arm."

Nodolf requested McCandless be held on a $750,000 cash bond given the severity of the crime, saying she believes McCandless is a threat to others due to concerns about her mental stability.

Defense attorney Aaron Nelson argued against the high bond, calling it 'ridiculous.'

"She has ties to the community, she has lived here basically her entire life," Nelson argued. "Her family is there, she has no prior record, no prior arrests. I think the amount that was proposed is, unnecessary."

Ultimately, the judge set bond at $250,000.

News 18 did some digging, and learned other information. According to a search warrant we obtained, this case started last Thursday night (March 22),  when a man called 911 to report that McCandless, who was distraught, showed up at his house near the crime scene. She was described as cold, barefoot and disheveled, with some blood around her mouth, and asked that he take her to see a doctor.

No charges have officially been filed against McCandless yet, but the DA anticipates a charge that carries mandatory life in prison.

The Dunn County Sheriff’s Office is looking for anyone that may have information about this case.

If you live near, or were traveling on, CTH E between Hwy 12 on Thursday, March 22nd between 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm and saw something out of the ordinary such as a vehicle, people walking or biking that you  don’t normally see in the area, you should call police.

There may also be people that know the victim and/or suspect in this case that may have information that has not been relayed to law enforcement yet. Anyone having information they feel may be relevant to this homicide investigation is encouraged to call the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office at 715-232-1348 to speak with Sgt. Todd Kurtzhals or Investigator Rod Dicus. Information may also be relayed to the Sheriff’s Office through Dunn County Crime Stoppers at dunncocrimestoppers.com.

 

March 24th, 2018 , Robin Reeson, Age 46, Ridgeway

Obituary

Officials have identified the two people who were home during the fatal domestic-abuse shooting Saturday morning, according to a release from the Iowa County Sheriff's Office.

Officers were called to Keane Street in Ridgeway around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Deputies found 46-year-old Robin Reeson dead, apparently shot after a domestic abuse incident escalated, officials said.

Reeson's wife, Melanie M. Reeson, 43, and Austin D. Valdez, 19, were home at the time of the shooting. Valdez is Melanie Reeson's son, according to the release.

The investigation is ongoing and that officers will be conducting multiple interviews with people who say they have information that could be helpful, according to the release.

There are no prior reported domestic incidents involving any of the three, according to the release.

Update: Austin Valdez, age 19, his wife's teen-aged son, was charged.

March 24th, 2018 , Christopher Race, Age 39, Wisconsin Rapids

Obituary

A 39-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man shot to death in a coffee shop March 24 had his two young children with him when he was killed, according to court documents filed late Thursday afternoon in Wood County Circuit Court.

A charge of first-degree intentional homicide was filed Thursday against Gary E. Bohman, 59, in the shooting death of Christopher M. Race.

According to court documents:

Wisconsin Rapids officers responded to Higher Grounds Bakery and Coffee Shop, 4231 Eighth St. S., Wisconsin Rapids on March 24 after the Wood County Dispatch received a 911 call with an open line.

When officers arrived at the scene, a neighboring business owner was standing outside with a 7-year-old boy, one of Race's sons. The man told officers the boy's dad was shot while standing behind the counter of the coffee shop.

The man said the boy ran over to his business and said his father was shot. The boy told an officer he tried to call 911 from the bakery, but he was not sure whether the call went through.

Officers found Race on the floor behind the counter. He had a wound to his upper abdomen and appeared to be dead.

Another officer saw Bohman walking toward the coffee shop holding Race's 11-month-old son. Bohman told the officer he had called 911. Bohman said he arrived at the bakery to get a coffee and found Race on the floor.

The 7-year-old boy told an officer that he, his 11-month-old brother, his father and another man were inside the bakery when the 7-year-old heard a gunshot. The boy said Bohman was the man in the coffee shop.

A Wood County Sheriff's Department lieutenant found a gun in Bohman's pocket. Officers examined the 9mm pistol and found one round in the chamber. The 9mm round matched an empty shell casing found inside the bakery.

A detective watched surveillance footage from inside the bakery. The footage showed Race working in the bakery with his 11-month-old and 7-year-old sons.

The footage showed two customers, one of them Bohman, inside the bakery. One customer left and Bohman got up and went to the counter. It appeared Bohman asked Race for an item inside the bakery case. Bohman is then seen raising a pistol with his right hand and firing one shot, hitting Race, and Race fell to the ground.

Bohman then is seen picking up the 11-month-old child and carrying him around the store for some time before leaving with the child.

Employees at Applebee's Restaurant reported a man carrying a child came into the restaurant, said someone had been hurt and asked employees to call 911.

Police showed Race's wife a still frame shot of Bohman sitting in the cafe. Race's wife recognized Bohman as her ex-husband.

Bohman is scheduled to make a court appearance Monday morning. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

March 26th, 2018 , Kiara Brown Age 18, Milwaukee

Obituary

The ex-boyfriend of a Milwaukee teen shot and killed earlier this week now faces criminal charges.

Kiara Brown was found shot to death in a car outside her home near N. 98th St. and W. Carmen Ave. Monday.

The next day, 19-year-old Marvin Patterson turned himself into police, according to a criminal complaint. He initially told officers that Brown tried grabbing a gun he had placed in the cup holder of the car. When he tried to grab it from her, the gun accidentally went off, the complaint says.

Patterson quickly changed his story, telling police he "decided to point the gun at her head," and when he did so "the gun went off and shot [Kiara]."

According to the complaint, Patterson says "he did not intend to kill [Kiara]," and drove the car into an alley and left her inside after the crime because "he freaked out."

Patterson faces one count of first degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he faces up to 65 years in prison.

Kiara's mother Kenisha says her daughter had been worried about picking out the right prom dress and finishing her senior year. Kenisha will instead get to plan her daughter’s funeral.

“He took my baby,” said Kenisha Brown. “He turned himself in, but it’s not going to make me feel better. It’s not going to take the pain away.”

She said Patterson lured her out of the house Sunday saying he had something to show her. The two had broken up a year ago but he had recently gotten back in touch.

“This is someone who clearly let jealously play a huge role,” said Trinity Brown, Kiara’s aunt.

The head of Milwaukee’s Domestic Violence Commission Karin Tyler said any violence in a relationship, no matter the age, should not be ignored.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 12 percent of high school girls report physical violence from a partner. But the commission said the numbers are much higher.

"It's one in three youth have experienced that. That's quite a bit and it can be very volatile,” said Tyler.

Kiara’s family now wants to know if someone saw their daughter being abused in the past. But her mom said that does not bring back their daughter.

“Even if I get answers that won’t be enough. That won’t be enough,” said Kenisha Brown.

April 1st, 2018 , Andrew T. Thorland -  Age 33, Madison

Obituary

The homicide victim and suspect in the shooting on Meadowlark Drive have been identified.

Andrew T. Thorland, age 33, has been confirmed the victim of a gun-related homicide. He was brought to a local hospital, but died shortly after arriving.

Timothy A. Thorland, age 58, has been confirmed as the suspect in the gun related homicide. He was also brought to a local hospital after a self-inflicted gun injury, but died shortly after arriving.

Madison Police responded to the 600 block of Meadowlark Drive for reports of shots fired early Sunday morning.

"Madison apparently has its first official homicide of the year," Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said in a press conference Sunday evening. "This has all the tell-tale signs of a murder-suicide."

The call in came in at 6:08 a.m. at 614 Meadowlark Drive that two people were down with gunshot wounds, according to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.

When officers arrived, they were contacted by a 61-year-old woman who directed them to a bedroom of a residential single-family dwelling. Koval says the "very distraught" mother and wife of the men reported the shooting.

"The room was first tactically cleared and officers located two individuals, a 58-year-old white male as well as a 33-year-old white male who were both found with gunshot wounds to their bodies," Chief Koval said.

MFD responded once the scene was deemed stable and attempted life-saving resuscitation and aid. Both men were taken to a local trauma hospital. Both individuals were pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

"Given the fact our investigation thus far would indicate that the men were known to one another, they were in a domestic relationship in the context of a father and a son," Chief Koval said.

MPD recovered the semi-automatic gun and four casings from the incident.

Authorities haven't yet released the men's names. Koval says authorities have a "good working supposition" about which man fired the shots.

There had also been a friend, an acquaintance of the 33-year-old who had spent the night in anticipation of having to go to work early in Madison, according to Chief Koval.

"He has already been interviewed and suffice to say that we have nothing that would suggest that there was any precipitating event which would have occurred hours just prior to this, as everybody was seemingly was getting on with their normal order of business watching movies and there was nothing that would have given any tell tale sign that this was going to happen this morning," Chief Koval said.

There was still a smell of remnant gun powder when officer arrived, according to Koval.

"That’s how quickly it was contained, there’s absolutely no indications in terms of any forced entry to the home or anything beyond what occurred in that isolated family dwelling this morning," Chief Koval said.

Koval added that the capacities of the incidents over the course of the last week are something that he's concerned about.

"Acknowledging that we these officers and firefighters that are rendering aid and care, what they are seeing is not the norm, not the human condition, as we all typically will experience it. The first responders who have a unique role in stewarding are vulnerable, but also have to be looked at as how we’re vulnerable as well to those repeated onsets. This week has been particularly compelling," Chief Koval said.

An investigation is ongoing.

April 7th, 2018 ,  Suicide following police chase, Stitzer

Authorities say a police chase in northwestern Wisconsin ended in a suicide.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says in a statement that a Bloomer police officer around 12:30 a.m. Saturday spotted the car of a domestic abuse suspect who was said to have a rifle. A chase ensued on Highway 53 and continued into Barron Count. Deputies asked the Barron Police Department to set up spike strips, which punctured three tires on the suspect's car.

As the vehicle came to a stop, the driver failed to get out or obey deputies' commands. After several minutes, because of the possibility that the suspect was armed, deputies made a tactical approach with shields and a flash-bang grenade. They found the driver, 66-year-old Michael Haile, of Stitzer, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.

April 13th, 2018 , Shannon Mani and her unborn child,  Age 21, Waukesha

WAUKESHA, WI (MetroSource-WSAU) -  The search for a pregnant 21-year-old Waukesha woman has ended with her body being found in a storage locker in Milwaukee. A suspect is in custody.

Shannon Mani was reported missing last weekend. Her remains were found Sunday at a storage facility on the 7800 block of West Tower Avenue. She’d been stabbed and shot.

Mani was seven months pregnant. She was last seen Friday at her family’s home in Waukesha. Police questioned her boyfriend a day later.

The suspect hasn’t been identified. The motive behind the killing hasn’t been made public. An autopsy was conducted on Monday.

Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack issued a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Mani family during this difficult time.”

Update:  The "known suspect" being held in connection with the death of Shannon Mani, who police said was shot and stabbed near North 77th and West Townsend streets, is the woman's 27-year-old boyfriend.

April 14th, 2018 , Chase Alan Fleischauer,  Age 19, New Richmond

 

 

Bail was set at $500,000 on Monday for a western Wisconsin man who prosecutors say killed his 19-year-old son last weekend.

St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes said during the bail hearing that first-degree intentional homicide charges were expected to be filed Tuesday against 42-year-old Kayle Alan Fleischauer of New Richmond in the shooting death of his son, St. Paul resident Chase Alan Fleischauer, who also had attended college in Brainerd.

St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman ordered the cash bond amount for Kayle Fleischauer, who was being held in St. Croix County jail on an investigations hold and on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms.

Nieskes said investigators removed eight guns from Fleischauer’s home after the Saturday shooting.

Defense attorney Katie Bosworth argued for a lower cash bond at the hearing, saying her client’s felony conviction was from nearly 25 years ago and “there is no indication that he’s a danger to the public.”

Nieskes contended the opposite was true, telling Waterman “the allegation is homicide of a family member — his son.”

“He is a danger to himself and the public,” Nieskes said.

The judge said he agreed with Nieskes.

The St. Croix County sheriff’s office on Sunday identified Chase Alan Fleischauer as the victim of a fatal gunshot wound to the head. According to a news release, the incident was domestic-related and an adult male — identified in court as Kayle Fleischauer — was taken into custody.

The incident was first reported at 4:11 a.m. in Richmond.

According to the sheriff’s office:

Deputies and New Richmond police responded to a 911 caller who requested assistance for a man with a gunshot wound. One person at the scene unsuccessfully attempted lifesaving efforts before EMS crews arrived, according to deputies.

Fleischauer was pronounced dead by the St. Croix County medical examiner at 6:37 a.m. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office on Sunday ruled the death a homicide.

“Initial investigation found this was a domestic-related incident and there is no threat to the public,” the news release states.

Nieskes said at the hearing that Kayle Fleischauer was “highly intoxicated” when officers arrived.

Person killed in I-94 fiery Racine County crash identified as man who killed Rockford woman

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- The Wisconsin State Crime Lab has positively identified the man in the April 20 crash that happened on I-94 south in Racine County. The man was identified by fingerprint analysis as 30-year-old Elmer Aguilar.

Aguilar is suspected of killing 24-year-old Destiny Tolodxi and then driving her car north into Wisconsin where a wheel fell off the car and he crashed into an excavator doing construction on I-94.

Columbus man sought for domestic violence incident found dead after standoff

A man accused of domestic violence refused to leave his Columbus home Sunday and was later found dead. "There is no longer a threat" in the residential area near the 500 block of S. Birdsey St. following "several hours of discussions, communications," Columbus Police Lt. Dennis Weiner said. Authorities got a 911 call about a fight at the home around 6 a.m. Sunday. The victim fled to a neighbor’s house. The man refused police demands to leave the home and after hours of negotiation, non-lethal gas was fired into the home. When police finally entered the home, he was dead, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. DOJ officials told a Madison TV station the man's death was not believed to be the result of police action. The victim of the domestic violence was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital and released. Columbus is about 40 minutes northeast of Madison. The DOJ is leading the investigation into the man's death.

May 1st, 2018, Ashley Mielke, Age 27, Clayton, WI

The man and woman whose bodies were found three months ago in a house destroyed by fire died in an apparent murder-suicide, investigators said Tuesday.

The bodies of Jeremy Wallenfang, 36, and Ashley Mielke, 27, were found inside the burned house at 3302 Breezewood Lane on May 1. Winnebago County sheriff's deputies had responded to a report of a house fire just before 7 a.m. and arrived to a "very chaotic scene," the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

They believe Wallenfang fatally shot Mielke, set the house on fire and then shot himself.

Forensic examinations of the deceased, crime laboratory testing, reviews of electronic devices and interviews with witnesses who had contact with Wallenfang and Mielke led investigators to that conclusion.

"According to witness statements, Mr. Wallenfang had threatened to kill Ms. Mielke and burn the house to the ground in the months leading up to this tragedy," the department said in the statement.

Wallenfang's last known contact was a voicemail for a family member that he left about two hours before the fire was reported, according to the statement.

The family member summarized Wallenfang's statements as, "You’re going to be mad at me and to tell my daughter that I love her.”

The specific motives behind the shooting remain unclear but the department said throughout the investigation investigators heard that Wallenfang and Mielke were involved in a "romantic relationship that was contentious at times."

Wallenfang and the homeowner's stepson lived at the residence. A third man had been staying at the home, and the sheriff's department had received reports that Mielke, who lived in Appleton, had been staying there at times as well, Winnebago County Sheriff's Capt. David Mack previously told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

When deputies arrived, a man ran from the residence and said someone was shooting a gun inside the home, Sheriff John Matz told reporters at the scene on May 1.

The deputies tried to get into the residence after learning there were two people potentially inside, but the intensity of the smoke and flames held them back, according to Tuesday's statement.

A lack of witness cooperation and the severity of the fire, which significantly degraded evidence, hampered investigators' efforts.

Investigators sent multiple pieces of evidence to several crime labs, including one in Pennsylvania, and brought a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh anthropology professor on board to analyze some of the remains, Mack said previously.

This is one of three apparent murder-suicides between intimate partners in the Fox Cities since January, and Mielke appears to be one of four local women to die at the hands of the man she was involved with since September.

Johnny Scott, 59, is charged with fatally shooting 48-year-old Annie Ford in September at the Appleton home they shared with her 15-year-old son.

On Jan. 9, Robert Schmidt fatally shot his wife, Sara Schmidt, in the driveway of his parents’ Harrison home before running from the scene. He died by suicide.

On May 1, Wallenfang fatally shot Mielke, set the house on fire and then shot himself, according to Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department investigators.

And on July 13, Laurie Colon, 37, was found dead of a gunshot wound, as was her husband, Greg Colon, 42, at their home in the 300 block of North John Street in Kimberly. Laurie Colon’s obituary describes Greg Colon as her “soon to be ex-husband,” and calls her a victim of domestic violence. The Fox Valley Metro Police Department has not released details about how the incident unfolded or confirmed her obituary's statements.

May 5th, 2018 , Donald Brewer,  Age 45, Almond, WI

The suspect in a fatal shooting in Portage County has been ordered to be held on a $1 million bond. He has been identified as Steven Breneman, 31, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department. Authorities believe Breneman shot Donald Brewer, 45, on his porch in the town of Almond Saturday evening. They said the motive appears to be allegations of “marital infidelity." The two got into a verbal altercation in front of Brewer's mobile home on 4th avenue and 4th street around 6:20 p.m. Saturday. In the prosecutor's statement, Breneman reached into his waist band to take out a gun and then fired twice at Brewer, striking him in the head.

Brewer's two sons, ages 14 and 12, witnessed the shooting, according to the release. They were able to identify the shooter. The suspect left the scene but was later arrested, officials said. Almond High School prom was temporarily suspended and everyone was moved to an off-site location while officials were looking for the alleged shooter Saturday. Once the suspect was arrested, prom was allowed to continue, according to the sheriff's department. Neighbors told News 9 they were shocked over the news Sunday. Breneman is set to appear in court again later this month. An autopsy was conducted on Brewer Monday as well.

May 14th, 2018, Iris and Willie Carter, Ages 64 and 71,  Milwaukee, WI

Obituaries

A Milwaukee man set a fire that killed his grandparents after an argument in which his grandfather pulled a gun on him, according to a criminal complaint.

Darren D. Carter, 23, is charged with two counts of felony murder in the deaths of Iris B. Carter, 74, and Willie James Carter, 71, according to the complaint and the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office.

The couple died from smoke inhalation in the fire May 14 at their home at 3842 N. 25th St., according to the complaint.

Carter told police he argued with Willie Carter after stealing money from his grandparents, and that during the argument his grandfather pulled a gun on him, according to the complaint.

He also said he set the fire in the couple's basement so he could frighten them the way his grandfather had frightened him by pulling out the gun, according to the complaint.

Carter was in the Milwaukee County Jail on Monday with bail set at $100,000, according to state court records.

May 16th, 2018 , Debra A. (Luckett) Hammond,  Age 52, Milwaukee, WI

A 59-year-old man was charged Friday in the death of his longtime girlfriend, according to a criminal complaint.

Jimmy Reed Bates was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, in the death of Debra A. Hammond, 52.

Hammond was found stabbed to death May 16 in the home she shared with Bates in the 6500 block of North 70th Street, according to the complaint.

Bates, who had been a suspect in her killing, was arrested Aug. 26, according to the complaint.

He was in custody in the Milwaukee County Jail Friday, with bail set at $500,000, according to jail records.

May 26th, 2018 , Michael Neal,  Age 40, Milwaukee, WI

A 21-year-old man has been charged in connection to a fatal shooting that happened near 26th and Roosevelt Saturday, May 26.

Investigators say the shooting occurred during an altercation between Charles Richard and his ex-girlfriend's father, 41-year-old Michael Neal.

The victim's wife told investigators, Neal went to Richard's house to speak with him shortly after 10 p.m..

Officials spoke with Richard, who told investigators his sister told him that a car -- driven by Neal -- had done a U-turn and was parked outside their home near 26th and Roosevelt. Richard said he was scared so he "grabbed a black gun from the kitchen and went outside."

The complaint says Richard went outside and yelled, "What do you want?" or "What are you doing here?" To which Neal yelled back, "You said come over so we could talk."

According to a the criminal complaint, Neal was then shot in the head inside his vehicle.

Richard told investigators he was trying to scare Neal away by shooting the gun, but he "wasn't trying to hit the car or anyone inside."

After the shooting, Richard told investigators he gave the gun to his mother. He also wrote an apology letter to the victim's family.

Richard has been charged with first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.

June 17th, 2018  Erin Bushek Somvilai - Age 35, La Crosse, WI

Obituary

Today, the La Crosse Police Department along with the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office announces that Erik J. Sackett (DOB 11-25-1979) of La Crosse is being charge with First Degree Intentional Homicide as part of the Erin Somvilai investigation.

On June 4th La Crosse Police had received a complaint that Erin Somvilai had not been heard from for several days.  La Crosse Police began a missing person investigation which continued until the discovery of Erin’s body on June 17th.  Erin was found in Runge Hollow Lake in Vernon County by a local fisherman.  La Crosse Police along with the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department recovered Erin from the lake and moved ahead with a homicide investigation.  The determination to proceed as a homicide investigation was due to the suspect using concrete blocks to weight her body down so that she would not surface and be located.  La Crosse Police took the lead on the homicide investigation and worked closely with the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation who was called in to assist.

Over the last several weeks an exhaustive investigation was conducted into Erin’s death. As the investigation evolved, investigators evaluated information that they had received early on while Erin was still considered a missing person. A variety of information and circumstances led police to focus on a boyfriend of Erin’s, Erik Sackett.  Erik was interviewed early in the missing investigation and provided statements to investigators which were later determined to be inaccurate.  Additional focus on Erik revealed circumstances and evidence that confirmed to Investigators he was the suspect.

Erik Sackett has been held in the La Crosse County Jail on an unrelated parole warrant since June 12th  and is expected to make an appearance in court on this charge tomorrow. Additional information and details will be made available in the criminal complaint at that time.

 

July 13th, 2018  Laurie Suzann Colon - Age 37,  Kimberly, WI

Obituary

Laurie’s obituary, which appears in Tuesday's Post-Crescent, describes Greg as Laurie’s “soon to be ex-husband,” and calls her a victim of domestic violence. Laurie and Greg Colon were in the process of getting a divorce, according to Outagamie County court records.

The Outagamie County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that Laurie and Greg Colon died Friday.

Tina Kraut, a friend of Laurie's, said in an interview Tuesday morning that Laurie was planning to move to Pennsylvania — where she graduated from high school — after the divorce was finalized.

Kraut said she last spoke to Laurie last week and has had conversations with Laurie in which she described her husband as being controlling and verbally abusive.

“She was not allowed to go out or spend time with friends,” Kraut said.

Laurie Colon was born Dec. 29, 1980, in Stevens Point to Kenneth and Nadine Guilbault of Appleton. She graduated from high school in Lititz, Pennsylvania, but moved to the Fox Cities in 2005.

She worked at Convergys as a supervisor for years before she became a sales team leader at eplus.com, an internet security firm.

Her funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Valley Funeral Home in Appleton. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. A GoFundMe page for Laurie has raised more than $3,300 to benefit Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs in Appleton.

The Colons did not have children together, according to court records.

The Fox Valley Metro Police Department was sent to a single-family residence at 5:42 p.m. Friday and found a man and woman, both dead, police said Monday.

"As part of our initial investigation, there was a continued law enforcement presence at the scene of this investigation for several days," police said

No additional details have been released by police, who have not yet formally released the identity of the victims. The case was described as an ongoing investigation.

 

July 25th, 2018  Officer Michael J. Michalski - Age 52,  Milwaukee, WI

Obituary

A 30-year-old man was charged Monday with first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shooting of Milwaukee Police Officer Michael J. Michalski.

Jonathan Copeland Jr. is accused of shooting Michalski once in the head as the officer climbed a rear staircase and Copeland emerged from a pile of clothing, according to a criminal complaint.

Michalski's body camera recording went black when he fell forward.

Investigators believe Copeland had run upstairs to escape officers with the Special Investigations Division who had come to arrest him on drug and domestic violence offenses Wednesday.

When he found the upper door locked, Copeland hid silently for more than 10 minutes in a pile of clothing on a landing until Michalski closed in.

Copeland is also charged with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide for shooting at Officer Travis Jung and Detective Jason Rodriguez.

After shooting Michalski, Copeland fired out a window at officers outside, the complaint states. One returned fire, caused Copeland to withdraw from the window. Copeland threw a .45-caliber handgun to the ground. It was empty.

Officers then heard Copeland yelling that his hands were up and not to shoot him.

According to the complaint, Copeland had texted his wife earlier Wednesday, warning that he would shoot police if they came after him. She had called police two days earlier to report Copeland's threats to shoot up her house for not paying him for an unspecified expense.

"Police cant save u fyi," he wrote, adding that he would shoot at police if she continued to contact them.

The complaint says that on the way to the hospital, Copeland told another officer accompanying him, "I will take it (a service weapon) off your waist and put one in the back of your head too."

Copeland, a felon, has a long criminal record stretching back to his teens. As of Monday, he was in custody at the Milwaukee County Jail on $750,500 bail.

According to information provided by Milwaukee police, officers spotted Copeland as they approached a house on North 28th Street, near West Wright Street, about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Michalski, a 17-year Police Department veteran, died from his injuries at Froedtert Hospital. He was 52.

Copeland was not wounded.

August 13th, 2018  Officer Involved Shooting-  Milwaukee, WI

A man who Milwaukee police say was armed with a gun when officers shot and killed him was not legally allowed to have a firearm, court records show.

The 48-year-old man drew a gun during a traffic stop on the city's near south side, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Monday evening at a news conference shortly after the shooting.

The man was wanted on a warrant in a felony domestic abuse case and probation violations. He had fled from officers earlier in the day, Morales said.

The shooting involved uniformed officers, Morales said, meaning they likely were equipped with body cameras, but police officials have not said if the shooting was recorded on body camera footage or by a squad car dash camera.

The Police Department also has not said how many shots were fired and has not publicly identified the man who was killed or the two officers involved, other than to provide the officers' ages and years of service.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the department had declined to release further information surrounding the shooting.

The shooting is being investigated by the Milwaukee Area Investigative Team, in accordance with state law that requires outside investigators to lead probes of fatal police shootings.

The man who was shot and killed was identified as Mario A. Hobson, a source told the Journal Sentinel.

His daughter told WISN-TV that Hobson had a history of suicidal thoughts and mental health problems. She could not be reached for further comment Tuesday.

It's unclear if Hobson sought mental health treatment based on court records available Tuesday. The records show Hobson's attorneys in his prior court cases did not raise his mental health or competency during those proceedings.

A warrant was issued for Hobson's arrest on July 29 when he was charged with felony battery, according to online court records.

According to the criminal complaint, Hobson approached his ex-wife July 21 while she was walking with friends in the 2300 block of North King Drive. Hobson pulled up to her in his car and grabbed both of her arms. He punched her in the head twice and grabbed her by the neck, leaving scratch marks.

In June 2017, he was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct with a domestic violence modifier.

According to the complaint, Hobson and his then-wife got into an argument while driving. She ran from the vehicle and he chased her. Hobson's wife was asking for help from a car passing by when Hobson pulled up, pointed a gun at the car and said, "You (expletive) better keep going."

When Hobson's wife heard tires squeal and saw Hobson's car driving toward her, she pulled out a gun and fired two shots at the vehicle, the complaint says.

Hobson was convicted in 2005 of felony possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, making it illegal for him to have a gun.

August 18th, 2018  Jakari Wright - Age 21,  Milwaukee, WI

Obituary

A 47-year-old Milwaukee man has been charged with reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of his son during an argument on Saturday.

Randell Wright told police he and Jakari Wright were arguing after Wright told his son he had to move out of their apartment in the 3700 block of West Oklahoma Avenue. Wright picked up his gun and then his son said, "Kill me, I want to die," Wright told police.

But instead, Wright said, his son tried to wrestle the gun away and it fired, striking his son in the left cheek.

Jakari Wright, 21, staggered around the apartment, bleeding profusely, then down the stairs before collapsing in the lobby of the apartment building, where others were trying to stop the bleeding when police arrived.

"I lost my son on some (expletive) that shouldn't have even went down," Wright told police.

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Brian Peterson's autopsy concluded that Jakari Wright was shot from behind after his body had turned away from his father. Detectives concluded the evidence was inconsistent with Wright's version of the struggle and gunshot.

August 21st, 2018  Robert Thomas Jr. - Age 26,  Janesville, WI

Obituary

District attorneys say they won't file charges against Sarina Stone in the death of 26-year-old Robert Thomas Jr.

Prosecutors determined Stone did murder Thomas, but lacked enough evidence to prove she intended to kill him.

Investigations find Stone and Thomas's relationship was almost daily violent in nature. There are several incidents of violence from Thomas against Stone.

Prosecutors say there's enough evidence to support Stone was trying to defend herself when she stabbed Thomas early Wednesday.

Stone picked up Thomas and they drove to a parking lot in the 2700 block of West Wall Street.

Stone told police that Thomas struck her during an argument before she stabbed him.

She then drove Thomas to Mercyhealth where he later died.

He died from a single stab wound to the chest.

August 22nd, 2018  Henri Washington - Age 40, Milwaukee

New details have been released in the murder-suicide that shocked a Wauwatosa neighborhood back in August. One of the men found dead in the home was a psychiatrist who lived there. The other was his lover.

Police say Henri Washington was found inside the home with a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

The man who lived there, Mark Batory, was shot in the mouth.

Police say Mark and his wife got divorced last year and on the day of the shootings, his 13-year-old son was outside the home.

The boy told officers that Henri came over and started arguing with Mark, even saying "Are we going to do this in front of your son?"

They went inside and Mark's son said he heard the two pops of gunshots.

Friends of Mark told police there had been violence in his relationship with Henri in the past.

Officers say just before he died, Henri left notes with messages to the effect of, 'I love you. Take care of my family. I'll see you on the other side.'

Mark's friends were adamant to officers that he didn't own a gun and never would.

Police believe Henri may have stolen the weapon used from an ex-boyfriend.

August 23rd, 2018  Attempted Homicide/Suicide,  Brookfield, WI

A 54-year-old Brookfield man who closed a garage door on his face died Thursday, the Waukesha County Medical Examiner's Office said, three days after the incident in which he is also suspected of bludgeoning his wife with a dumbbell.

Police are treating the investigation as an attempted homicide after responding to a domestic violence case Monday, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by City of Brookfield police in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The couple's 22-year-old daughter, who was home from college, heard her mother, 52, screaming and called 911. The daughter had been in her room when she heard several thuds and the garage door close.

The mother was found bloodied and her teeth missing. Responding officers found the husband lying on the ground in the garage with trauma to his face.  A dumbbell was located nearby, which may have been used to batter the woman, according to the affidavit.

The husband was found with his head underneath the overhead garage door. The safety feature of the door had been disabled. A rope tied to the release for the door was also visible; It appeared the rope was used to release the door, the affidavit said.

The couple was taken to Froedtert Hospital, the affidavit said.

A search of the couple's home found three human teeth in the hallway, one tooth on the garage floor, a 5-pound dumbbell, a rope connected to a garage cord and computer equipment.

The couple filed for divorce in January, but suspended proceedings July 11 to try and reconcile, according to online court documents. Court records showed one previous incident of domestic violence in 2003.

September 3rd, 2018 Quantrell Ross, Age 38, Milwaukee WI

Obituary

Homicide Charge Filed Against Milwaukee Woman Who Stabbed Boyfriend

A Milwaukee woman charged with homicide told police the dead man had been punching her, so she grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed him.  The incident happened September 3rd.  Officers were called to the apartment and, when they arrived, they say 33-year-old Danielle Latham was calm, even though she was sitting on the floor with blood on her hands and clothes.  Quantrell Ross was unresponsive and life-saving measures failed.  Latham is scheduled to return to Milwaukee County Circuit Court Friday.  If convicted, she would face up to 60 years in prison.

September 24th, 2018  Benjamin Eldridge, age 34, West Allis, WI

Obituary

A 33-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of stabbing his brother to death early Monday on a West Allis street, police said.

Police on Friday identified the victim as Benjamin Eldridge, 34. His brother, Jonathan Eldridge, has been charged with second-degree reckless homicide -- use of a dangerous weapon.

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Police said the brothers were traveling together in a vehicle in the 6700 block of West Beloit Road when an fight ensued and Jonathan stabbed Benjamin multiple times. Benjamin exited the vehicle and died as a result of his injuries in the 6700 block of West Lincoln Avenue.

 

September 25th, 2018    Dorwhitem Johnson, Age 31, Milwaukee WI

Milwaukee man has been charged after repeatedly abusing his wife. 40-year-old Archie Griffin has been charged with five criminal accounts including mayhem domestic abuse, aggravated battery and first degree recklessly endangering safety along with two counts of bail jumping.
Around 9 p.m. on September 25 Griffin called 911 to say that he got into a fight with his wife and she needed medical attention. He said his wife was going in and out of consciousness. When Milwaukee Police Officers arrived at the house the victim, Dorwhitem Johnson, was found dead in a bed.

When detectives investigated the victim's body they found distinct discoloration near the mouth and on the cheeks of her face consistent with a chemical burn. Detectives found cigarette burns to the victim's private parts and additional signs of chemical burns to the neck along with bruising and healing cuts on her chin, inner thighs, stomach and back.

The Medical Examiner determined that the body had been dead for over ten hours despite Griffin pretending to talk to the victim while making the initial 911 call.

The ME believes the victim was whipped with an object and burned with cigarette multiple times. The woman had cuts and bruises all over her body consistent with being beaten.

An official cause of death has not been determined.

In a statement to police, Griffin said he thought his wife was cheating on him and "lost it." He told police he punched her in the head and body around 15 times and strangled her with his hands but said she never lost consciousness. The criminal complaint says Griffin admitted to kicking her in the head, arms and neck and hit her in the head a few times with a wooden chair leg.

Griffin told police he would put his cigarettes out in numerous spots on his wife's body. He said he whipped her with a phone cord and bit both of her shoulders. He said the beating lasted for about two hours and happened either a week or two weeks before he called 911.

Griffin said he was trying to nurse his wife back to health, but could tell something was wrong. He said she did not want to go to the hospital.

 

September 29th, 2018    Sherry Waller Age 34, Madison WI

Madison police say a man with a history of domestic abuse shot and killed a woman he had been seeing before killing himself over the weekend.

Authorities said Monday that 39-year-old James Sykes shot and killed 34-year-old Sherry Waller in her home late Friday or early Saturday before turning the gun on himself.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says Sykes shot Waller once in the head as she lay on her bed while two of her children were in the home.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Koval said Waller and Sykes had been in a relationship since at least around last Christmas. Sykes was convicted of felony domestic abuse in 2016, making it illegal for him to own a firearm. Police are unsure how he obtained the gun.

 

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