Deputies recover remains believed to be Brian Helgeson, son expected to be charged

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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - A man is in jail, accused of murder, and investigators said they believe the victim is his father.

At about the same time officers found and arrested 20-year-old Lars Helgeson, investigators found a body they believe is his father, Brian Helgeson.

Brian Helgeson had been missing for about ten days, officers said.

Lars Helgeson had left the home near Hixton and was on the run after officers said they found out that Brian had vanished.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said the person it believes is Brian Helgeson likely died from a gunshot wound sometime last week.

They said no weapon was found. There could be other suspects, but with Lars in custody, there's no longer a danger to the community.

Scott Moldenhauer said he knew something odd was going on when no one had heard from his friend, Brian Helgeson for about a week.

“I had a gut feeling. That this was the way it was going to come about,” Moldenhauer said.

“It's not like (Brian) to just disappear.”

With Brian’s son on the run, then arrested Thursday night, word from the sheriff's department Thursday, confirmed Scott's biggest fear.

“Unfortunately we received information and we also recovered remains (Wednesday) of a person on the property believed to be Brian,” Sheriff Duane Waldera said.

“I don't understand. I don't know how something like this could happen,” Moldenhauer said.

With help from bloodhounds and witnesses, investigators dug to find a body they think is Brian, Waldera said.

“We do have to do some more work on properly taking care of the identification, that's why we say ‘believed to be Brian.’”

“We're currently still at the scene collecting evidence and doing other follow ups.”

With a court case for Lars Helgeson pending, Scott reflected on his friend.

“Brian, like myself, was a biker, but he is so far from the image of being a biker. Very true hearted, honest, soft giving, great person,” Moldenhauer said.

“He was easy going, giving, more than happy to give people rides on his trike, kind of a happy go lucky guy and very understanding.”

“He had a unique voice, he was Brian, there was no other way around it. And that trike; you always knew it was him when it rolled in.”

Brian's wheels are no longer turning, and Scott is now faced with a grim reality.

''It's very difficult to even think that somebody could do this to him.”

“We've been provided with some possible motives but nothing that we've been able to confirm at this point,” Jackson County Captain Tim Nichols said.

“I'd like to know why. I don't care about how, that doesn't matter. Brian's gone. The biggest thing would be to know why?” Moldenhauer said.

“Why? What is (Lars) thinking? What's the drive to take someone else's life?”

“I'm gonna miss (Brian), he's a great brother.”

No court dates for Lars Helgeson have been set.

Investigators said Thursday criminal charges could be filed in the next few days.

Scott Moldenhauer said he's planning a bike ride for Brian on Sunday.

It's at Sunset Tavern near Black River Falls at 1:00 p.m.

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera announces pending homicide charges and the recovery of a body in what authorities believe to be a missing person reported earlier in the week.

On Monday, September 23, 2013 sheriff’s authorities responded to a report of suspicious circumstances and a reported missing person in the Township of Hixton in western Jackson County. It was at that time, that a family member reported checking on a relative at his home and encountered strange behavior within the home. The relative contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

During the initial part of the investigation, authorities were informed that family and friends were unable to make contact with 57 year old Brian Helgeson who resided on Green Acres Road in Hixton Township with his 20 year old son, Lars Helgeson.

While investigating the case, sheriff’s authorities were told that a family member checked the home and observed an individual crouched inside the home apparently attempting to avoid detection.

Sheriff authorities checked the home and with the aid of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) cleared the home and found no one inside the residence and were unable to find either BRIAN or LARS.

Further investigations revealed that LARS HELGESON had recently been spotted in the area. Sheriff’s investigators attempted to find LARS HELGESON without success.

Later that evening a vehicle was reported stolen close to the HELGESON residence. Sheriff’s authorities speculated that perhaps LARS HELGESON had stolen that vehicle and notification was made to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at or about 10:30 AM, sheriff’s authorities acting on a citizen tip made contact with the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was parked and a lone white male subject was observed fleeing from the vehicle in the area of CTH – P and Lincoln Road in Springfield Township in Jackson County.

That sighting triggered an extensive manhunt by law enforcement personnel in that area. Assistance was summoned from the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, Blair P.D., Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, all who provided man power in the search efforts. Fixed winged aircraft was summoned as well to aid in the search as provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol. K-9 units were dispatched to aid in the search.

Unable to find the subject, Law Enforcement changed tactics and summoned the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The WDNR provided aircraft equipped with infrared technology to aid in the search.

Not long after the arrival of the DNR aircraft into the area, a local farmer reported to the Sheriff’s Office that he spotted what he believed to be a juvenile in the area of Lowes creek Road and Green Acres Road. The citizen reported that the subject was spotted with his hands raised in the air. Sheriff’s authorities responded immediately and found the subject on a farm field road, near the intersection. The subject, later identified as LARS HELGESON surrendered to law enforcement without incidents. LARS HELGESON, once in custody was transported to the County Sheriff’s Office for interrogation.

As the search for LARS HELGESON was being conducted, investigators acting on information from two subjects interviewed by authorities conducted a search of the HELGESON farm. Authorities developed information that LARS HELGESON had shot and killed his Father and that he had buried his Father’s body on the farm property.

Sheriff’s authorities acting in conjunction with the department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations found what appeared to be recently disturbed dirt and heavy earth moving equipment was summoned to the scene. In the afternoon hours of Wednesday, September 25, 2013 authorities unearthed a white male body from that location on the farm.

Although no positive identification of the body has been made, authorities believe that this is the body of missing person, BRIAN HELGESON.

The cause of death was not immediately apparent and the body will undergo an autopsy this morning.

While undergoing questioning by authorities, LARS HELGESON recounted the events leading up to the death of his Father and charges are now pending against LARS HELGESON for the homicide, according to Sheriff Duane Waldera.

More information will be forth coming when available.

Sergeant Pat LaBarbera, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --Investigators are now calling a Hixton man who was missing for days the suspect in a homicide investigation.

Lars Helgeson, 20, of Hixton is being held in the Jackson County Jail on suspicion of First Degree Murder. Criminal charges have not been filed. At a news conference Thursday morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department says it found the remains of a person on the Helgeson property who's believed to be Brian Helgeson, 57, of Hixton.

Sheriff Duane Waldera says Lars Helgeson was interviewed Wednesday night. He is expected to be charged in the next couple of days. The remains were found around the same time Lars was arrested Wednesday night. Investigators say they were buried.

"What kind of solidified it is, based on witness information, not eyewitness, but just witness disclosure, we also utilized resources such as our K9 unit, did some scent articles that led us to a location on the property that confirmed witness information," said Sheriff Waldera. "So, it's a combination of witness information plus verifying it with our local K9 unit, the bloodhounds that we have."

The Sheriff says deputies are still at the scene collecting evidence. He says a K9 led them to the remains. A Dane County medical examiner will perform an autopsy. There's no word on whether there was any trauma to the body, or whether any other arrests will be made in the case.

WEAU's Joe Nelson was at the news conference and will have more on this story tonight on WEAU 13 News at 5.
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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --Investigators plan to release more information about a missing man from the Hixton area and the arrest of his son.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office plans to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday. Investigators say it will be centered on the disappearance of Brian Helgeson, 57, of Hixton, and the arrest of his son Lars Helgeson, 20, also of Hixton.

The sheriff's department told WEAU 13 News that deputies arrested Lars Helgeson before 6 p.m. Wednesday. He's considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Brian Helgeson. Lars Helgeson was arrested without incident. He was not armed when deputies caught him. Lars Helgeson was booked into the Jackson County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft.

WEAU 13 News will be at the news conference. Watch for a live update Thursday on WEAU 13 News at Noon.