Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office to devote more resources to two cold cases

By: Andrew Fefer, Amanda Tyler Email
By: Andrew Fefer, Amanda Tyler Email
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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Two cold cases in Jackson County are back in the forefront and now the sheriff's department is hoping a university in Texas and a national database will bring closure and justice.

In a press conference Monday Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera announced a renewed effort by detectives to solve two of the county’s oldest cold cases.

Sheriff Waldera says in both cases the victims were dismembered and their remains were never identified.

“They discovered a plastic garbage bag with the remains of a human head,” Waldera explained.

The first case is from August 1978 where a human skull from a man was found by a logging crew in the township of Knapp in Jackson County.

The second is a case from October 1990, where the dismembered body of a 24-year old woman was found in two shallow graves in Brockway Township.

“The first step in any of these cases is to identify the victim. Once we can identify the victim the chances of identifying the perpetrator are greater,” Detective Kelly Bakken said.

After all the leads dried up, the cases landed on the desk of Detective Kelly Bakken. Since the cases are more than a decade old, DNA was not taken from both the victims.

Bakken knew she had to start from the beginning, putting an identity to the victims to churn up new leads to solve the cases.

Thanks to the help of the Division of Criminal Investigation and the University of North Texas the two unidentified victims are going to have a DNA profile made up. That profile will be entered into a national website database where it could be matched with a missing person.

“I would love nothing more than to see this to the end. It would be nice to get a conviction on both cases,” Bakken said.

Sheriff Waldera says he does not believe the two victims are from the Jackson County area since the timing does not match up with missing persons records from that time frame.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department says if you have any information on the 1978 or 1990 cold cases you’re asked to call their office at (715) 284-5357.

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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is putting more resources into two of its longest-running cold cases.

On Monday, Sheriff Duane Waldera announced his team of detectives is devoting more time to solving the cases. They're also using new technology. Both cases involved victims who were dismembered, and remains that have gone unidentified. The first case is from 1978. The second is from 1990.

"These are the two that are kind of haunting this county of unidentified remains, and these are the only two in our county, and we want to solve them," Waldera said at a news conference on Monday.

He says his detectives are now working with the University of North Texas to create a profile of the victims. Once that happens, the profile will be entered into a national website database. From there, it could be matched with a missing person.
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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE) -- The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office along with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation continues to work on a cold case homicide from 1990 in which the victim’s identity is still unknown.

On October 10, 1990, the body of a female homicide victim was located in two shallow graves in Brockway Township, Jackson County. The female victim was dismembered, decapitated and placed inside of plastic bags, which were then buried in shallow graves. The skull of the victim has not been recovered.

The victim is believed to be a small, white female who was estimated to be 24 years old or older at the time of her death. The victim had a reddish-pink nail polish on her fingernails and toenails. She had what appeared to be a crude outline of a mushroom tattoo on her left wrist, a fine scar about 2 ½ inches in length beginning just above the left wrist and continuing along the hand, and a N-shaped small scar on the inside crease of her elbow. The victim’s fingerprints have been compared to the National Fingerprint Database, with no matches.

In 1990 a DNA sample was not retained from the victim’s remains. Due to the advancements in technology over those 23 years, it is now believed that DNA evidence may be beneficial to identifying the victim.
On July 7, 2014, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office along with the assistance of the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) exhumed the body of the unidentified homicide victim in an attempt to advance the investigation.

The victim’s remains were transported to the Dane County Medical Examiner’s office where Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent Tranchida performed an autopsy on the remains. From Dane County the victim remains will be sent to the University Of North Texas Health Science Center.

Investigators have utilized NamUs during this investigation. NamUs resources include: no cost case analysis, forensic odontology, DNA analyses, fingerprint examination and anthropological analyses. NamUs is funded by the National Institute of Justice and managed by the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center will be using a portion of bone to create a DNA profile of the victim. The DNA profile will then be entered into NamUs where we hope to get a match of a missing person. NamUs has a web site for unidentified remains and a web site for missing persons in which they are able to cross reference and create possible matches. The hope is that the victim’s family has reported her as a missing person and that the victim’s family has their DNA samples that can be cross referenced with the victim DNA to create a possible match.

Along with the DNA profile of the victim, the Sheriff’s Office is also asking the University of North Texas Health Science Center to do anthropological analyses. Anthropological analyses were done on the victim remains in 1990; however, there have been advancements in anthropological analyses and it is believed that law enforcement may gain more knowledge of the victim through anthropological analyses.

If anyone has any information on the identity of the female victim or information regarding the homicide of the victim, contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office 715-284-5357.
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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE) --The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office along with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation continues to work on a cold case homicide from 1978 in which the victim’s identity is still unknown.

On August 15, 1978 a logging crew working in the township of Knapp, Jackson County, Wisconsin located human remains. The location of the remains was described as ¼ mile east of Fish Creek Road on Keys Road and off into a wooded area.

Discovered at the location were plastic garbage bags that were secure with twist ties and masking tape which were wrapped with a light chain and then formed into a basket carrying device. The human skull was found approximately 10 feet from the garbage bags. Investigators at the time believed that the skull had been in the garbage bags and the bags were ripped open by animals, exposing the skull to the elements. The skull was well-bleached and teeth remained intact. The lower mandible and first cervical vertebrae were located in the area of the skull and garbage bags. The forensic pathologist’s opinion was decapitation. Even though we cannot show the cause of death, we have to conclude for homicide given the decapitation.

Locate inside of a garbage bag at the scene was a “02 Medi Stud” brand surgical earring. In 1978, investigators attempted to identify the origin of the surgical earring without success. It is believed that this type of earring was one that was used by piercing salons.
In 1978 an anthropologist examined the skull and determined the skull to be that of a male, over 45 years of age believed to be white.

Since 1978 the human remains are unidentified despite the efforts of the investigators. Currently the Sheriff’s Office has been utilizing NamUs during the investigation. NamUs resources include no cost case analysis, forensic odontology, DNA analyses, fingerprint examination and anthropological analyses. NamUs is funded by the National Institute of Justice and managed by the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center will be using doing forensic odontology and will be using a tooth to create a DNA profile of the victim. The DNA profile will then be entered into NamUs where we hope to get a match of a missing person. NamUs has a web site for unidentified remains and a web site for missing persons in which they are able to cross reference and create possible matches. The hope is that the victim’s family has reported him as a missing person and that the victim’s family has their DNA samples which can be cross referenced with the victim DNA to create a possible match.
Along with the DNA profile of the victim the Sheriff’s Office is also asking the University of North Texas Health Science Center to do anthropological analyses. A certified Forensic Artist
will do a sketch and clay reconstruction of the skull. The Forensic Artist that will be creating the sketch and reconstruction runs project EDEN (Everyone Deserves A Name).

If anyone has any information on the identity of the male victim or information regarding the homicide of the victim you should contact Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.


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