EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The man who admitted to shooting his wife to death is now charged.
On Tuesday morning, prosecutors filed a charge of First-Degree Intentional Homicide against Thomas Biesterveld, 60, of Eau Claire. Biesterveld appeared in Eau Claire County court via video conference Tuesday morning, where a judge denied bail.
Officers say Biesterveld was driving erratically near New Auburn early Friday morning. After an officer tried to stop him in Bloomer, Biesterveld pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at the officer. He then drove off, leading investigators on a high-speed chase. Biesterveld was seen throwing the gun and other items out of his sport utility vehicle during the chase. Investigators put out road spikes, but Biesterveld kept driving on a tire rim until he got to his home.
Officers arrested Biesterveld. They talked to a neighbor, who mentioned hearing what they thought was a gunshot around 11 p.m. Thursday. Then officers found the body of Lois Biesterveld in a doorway. She had what appeared to be a gunshot wound. An autopsy determined that she died of a single gunshot wound to the back from close range.
A criminal complaint said Thomas Biesterveld "nodded his head in an affirmative up and down motion" when asked if he was responsible for shooting his wife. Investigators from Chippewa County saw him take off his ring and "indicate that he would not need it anymore." He told investigators that he and his wife had an argument, and that Lois had said that she was going to leave him. Police believe the couple fought violently, and that Thomas Biesterveld shot her in the back when she made the threat. He left, and was driving around until the Bloomer officer found him.
Thomas Biesterveld is due back in court on September 2.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM EAU CLAIRE POLICE DEPT.) -- Statement by Eau Claire Police Department Chief of Police Jerry Staniszewski:
The Eau Claire Police Department has arrested Thomas C. Biesterveld for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide related to the death of his wife, Lois Biesterveld.
Since the early morning hours of Friday, August 22, the Eau Claire Police Department has committed its resources to resolve this investigation as quickly as reasonably possible. The events from August 22 unfolded in the following manner:
• At approximately 1:35 a.m., the Chippewa County Communication Center received a report of an erratic driver in the New Auburn area. The vehicle was a red 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer which was later determined to be operated by Eau Claire resident Thomas Biesterveld.
• A short time later, a Bloomer Police Officer observed Thomas Biesterveld driving through the City of Bloomer and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Thomas Biesterveld refused to stop.
• As the Bloomer Police Officer pulled up next to the vehicle, Thomas Biesterveld pointed a 12 gauge shotgun out the window at the officer. The officer backed away from Thomas Biesterveld who then drove away at a high rate of speed.
• Chippewa County Deputies assisted with the high speed pursuit which traveled through Chippewa County back to the City of Eau Claire. During the pursuit, Biesterveld was observed throwing the shotgun and other items out the window of his vehicle. These items were recovered and confirmed to belong to Biesterveld.
• Despite the successful deployment of a tire deflation device, Biesterveld was able to continue driving his vehicle on a tire rim. He entered the City of Eau Claire and eventually stopped in front of his residence at 821 Harris Street on the northwest side of Eau Claire.
Eau Claire Police Officers assisted the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department with the apprehension of Biesterveld. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the Chippewa County Jail for:
1. Operating a Motor Vehicle while under the Influence of an Intoxicant -1st Offense
2. Knowingly Fleeing an Officer
3. Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon
4. Armed with a Weapon while Intoxicated
• While Eau Claire Police Officers were still at the scene in front of Biesterveld’s residence, a neighbor approached them and mentioned hearing what they believed to be the sound of a gunshot around 11:00 p.m. that night. They were also concerned because they had not seen Thomas Biesterveld’s wife, Lois Biesterveld, since that time. Eau Claire Police Officers decided to make contact at the residence to check on the welfare of Lois Biesterveld.
• When officers approached the residence, they located Lois Biesterveld lying face down in the doorway of the side entrance. She was deceased. She had multiple injuries to include abrasions and what appeared to be a gunshot wound to her body.
• A forensic autopsy completed by the University of Wisconsin Hospital Pathology Department determined that the cause of death was from a single gunshot wound to the back from close range.
• Eau Claire Police Department Detectives interviewed Thomas Biesterveld who confessed to shooting and killing his wife Lois Biesterveld. He stated that they had an argument and Lois stated that she was going to leave him.
It is believed that Thomas and Lois Biesterveld were involved in a Domestic Disturbance which escalated to a violent physical confrontation, and that upon Lois threatening to leave, Thomas shot her in the back from close range killing her. He then left his residence in his vehicle and was driving around until confronted by the Bloomer Police Officer.
On behalf of the Eau Claire Police Department, I want to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Lois R. Biesterveld family.
Domestic Violence is a serious issue that presents unique challenges in many communities. It should never be tolerated as a part of any relationship. There can be tragic outcomes as has happened in this instance.
I would like to personally thank the following people and organizations who assisted with the homicide investigation:
• The neighborhood residents of Lois Biesterveld
• The Eau Claire County Medical Examiner’s Office
• The University of Wisconsin Hospital Pathology Department
• The Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office
• The Bloomer Police Department
• The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department
• The men and women of the Eau Claire Police Department
Chief of Police
Eau Claire Police Department