There’s more to these Wisconsin cases than just ‘true crime’ – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: November 1, 2021 at 7:26 am

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Behind every "true crime" story explored in a Netflix documentary, Dateline episode or podcast arecountless hours spent by local journalistscommitted to uncovering the truth.

Before and after a national publication or aproduction company swoopsin, wearedoing our job to provide the depth required to understand the full story of what happened and what it means for our communities.

For us, true crime isn't a genre, and we certainly don't talk about it that way; it's the result of the work that our experienced journalists do every day to cover crime, corruption, and hold our institutions accountable.

This article highlights some of the key stories that we have covered over the years that we believe tellthese stories well.

'No face, no case': A six-part series explores how Antonio Tone Smith tried to permanently silence the witnesses to his crimes.

Read more

Nurse practitioner Carlie Beaudinwas beaten to death in the parking garage of the hospital where she worked.

The man who killed her was captured on security cameras for two and a half hours before the attack, lurking around the hospital and hiding behind pillars for two and a half hours.But Froedterts security team had failed to act.

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Secretary Diane Olkwitz was stabbed more than 100 times in a Menomonee Falls factory on Nov. 3, 1966. Her killer has never been caught.

Fifty-three years later,family members cling to the hope that her murder will be solved.

Read more

David Schuldes and Ellen Matheysset up camp near the Peshtigo River on a beautiful early Friday afternoon in July 1976.

They were the first campers to arriveat McClintock Park innorthern Marinette County that day. They'd firststopped first at Goodman Park, about 4 miles north, hoping to camp there. All the sites were full, so they drove down to McClintock Park.

They took one of the first spots available near the entrance to a loop of campsitesand headed out for a hike on the parks rustic trails and dense woods.

But they never reached the trail.

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Leaked details of a rape investigation led to a year of lawsuits and resignations andexposed conflicts of interest, infighting, dysfunction and instances when the interests of Milwaukee citizens were overlooked by public officials.

Read the four-part series

In 2014, two 12-year-old Waukesha girlswere charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for what police say was a plot, planned over months, to kill their classmate to appease Slender Man, a fictitious internet character.

The girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, stabbed their victim 19 times with a 5-inch blade. The victim,Payton Leutner, was left for deadbefore she crawled from some woods at a park to a trail where she was found by a passing bicyclist.

As thecase played out, it alsohighlighted theissues of minors being charged as adults.

Read a full timeline of theircases

Ethan Hauschultz was 7 when his 14-year-old foster brother beat him to death and buried him in the snow.

Later sentenced to 20 years in prison, the foster brother said he'd been told to punish Ethan by his father, Timothy Hauschultz who'd become Ethan's foster father despite having a record of child abuse.

The case inspired the 2021 passage of Ethan's Law, which prevents Wisconsin foster children from being placed with a convicted child abuser even if a judge later reducedthe conviction to a much lesser offense.

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Longtime crime reporter Gina Barton used her journalistic skills and ethics to look into three of Wisconsin's long-unsolved criminal cases: the disappearances and deaths ofJohn Zeraand Michelle Manders; and the murder of Father Alfred Kunz, a controversial Catholic priest. Barton explored the cases both in a podcast and in longform serial reporting.

Explore all three Unsolved seasons

In 1973, everyone's kids trick-or-treated after dark on Halloween, and 9-year-old Lisa Ann French was eager to get started after finishing dinner.

She kissed her parents goodbye and ran out of the house at 192 Amory St. just before 6 p.m. dressed up as a hobo -jeans covered in masking tape, a floppy felt hat and a green parka.

It was the last time her mother and step-father would see her alive.

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Peter Zimmerwas 14 when he murdered his adoptive parents and brotherat their Wisconsin farmhouse.

Under state law at the time, he was not charged as an adult and never faced trial. At 19, he reinvented himself as Jovan Anton "Joe" Collier and kept his past a secret until new criminal charges revealed his long-buried past.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

(Update:After he completed his Florida prison sentence, Collier moved west.He was living with an ex-wife in Galveston, Texas, when the condo board kicked him out in 2013. The next year, he was briefly jailed near Waco, Texas, after another woman who had planned to marry Collier learned of his past from a TV show.

Collier pleaded guilty in 2015 to harassing three women in the Waco area, was sentenced to time served and indicated he planned to relocate to San Diego.)

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There's more to these Wisconsin cases than just 'true crime' - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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