• Uncategorized

    Disappearing Retirements

    We all remember Enron. It was monumental news when it broke. We’ve also all heard of a ponzi scheme. But what happens when you take control of retirement funds of nurses, clergy, and teachers and steals $1,000 at a time? You disappear for 14 years. Don Johnson boarded an Amtrak to Chicago on November 15, 1996, and didn’t look back for 14 years. He left a note with his accountant that stated; “I am writing you well in advance. . . . Someday you will know the whole story, but right now I can’t risk it. . . .I know it’s the wrong (option), but I just couldn’t figure out…

  • murder

    The Jealous Barber

    He wasn’t quite Sweeny Todd, but he did murder two people. For Frances Josten, September 21st, 1932, seemed like a great day to get out and enjoy the horse races at La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds. She had recently filed for divorce from her husband, barber Paul Josten, and moved into her own place.  She may or may not have known that Paul had been following her all around town. He also happened to be at the fairgrounds that fateful Wednesday. Paul observed her in the company of two out of town jockeys. Later that evening, Frances walked out of her apartment on North 4th Street and got into a car…

  • murder

    Trailer Park Triple Murder

    On Saturday, September 26, 1992, Sheriff Karl Halverson arrived at a crime scene to find three people dead, believed to be related to an earlier domestic incident. LeRoy (57) and Cel (55) Weibel and their daughter Sue (29) Frydenlund were found around 5:30 pm by the Weibel’s son, who lived nearby. Thankfully, Sue’s two young children were found unharmed in their room in Brookview Trailer Court. The Weibel’s and their daughter were beaten to death between late Friday evening and early Saturday morning. The Weibel’s were found in their bed while Sue was in the living room. All were wearing pajamas. Sue appeared to be the target as her head…

  • clara olson
    disappearance,  murder

    The Disappearance of Clara Olson

    Clara Olson met Erdman Olson (no relation) at a church picnic. Clara was the daughter of farmer Christ Olson in Little Norway, the farmland that rests between LaCrosse and Prairie du Chien. She was a beautiful 22-year-old young woman living the modest life of a Luthern farm girl in the 1920s.  Erdman was the son of a thriving tobacco farmer and given cars and clothes. At 16, he started attending Gale College in Galesville. He was flashy and aloof. But two years later, Clara saw something in him, and they began to date. Christ had wanted to meet the young man, but Erdman insisted on a meeting with Clara away…

  • murder,  true crime

    Fallen Officer

    I looked for a December true crime case from La Crosse to share. I found one that involves one of three police officers killed in the line of duty in La Crosse. December 5th, 1937, probably started like any other Sunday. Officers Joseph Donndelinger and rookie Granville “Granny” Smith were assigned to a beat car. They saw a car speed through 5th and Jackson, running a stop sign as well.  What the officers didn’t know was the driver, Floyd Wagener, was driving a stolen vehicle. He also just dropped off two people at Sears (located at 5th and King) to crack open the safe. The officers proceeded to pull Wagener…

  • murder

    Onalaska Church Murders

    February 7th, 1985 was a typical Thursday in Onalaska, Wisconsin. It was about -8 degrees at 9 am when a man walked into St. Patricks Catholic Church on Main Street and killed three men. The Children’s mass had started at 8 am. Just before the service, a man asked Father John Rossiter if he was going to allow girls to read scripture. The Father replied he was because the Pope had allowed it. The man left the church only to return an hour later. Once the church had emptied, he approached Father John Rossiter, 64, who was praying at the altar and shot him. The man then found Ferdinand Roth,…

  • murder

    1980s Unsolved Murders

    Some of the saddest cases are unsolved. Loved ones may never know what happened to their missing or murdered daughter, sister, friend. Hopefully, with more people connecting to the internet, and advances with DNA, we can get answers for the friends and family of victims. Here are three unsolved murders from the LaCrosse area in the 1980s. Let’s give these victims a voice and maybe find some justice. On May 4, 1984, three teenagers came across a body on the side of a road near Westby, Wisconsin. The discovery made the news, and a couple called the police because they saw a man getting into a yellow Datsun near the…

  • Uncategorized

    The Strange Case of Philip Schuth

    On April 22, 2005, a strange series of events led to the discovery of a body in a freezer. Philip Schuth lived in a run-down house on French Island. No one knew him, some saw him walking around, and others thought it was an abandoned house. That all changed one Friday night in April when a run in with a neighbor leads to the confession that his mother’s body was in the basement freezer. On Friday, April 22nd two neighborhood boys were playing in the yard of what they thought was an abandoned home. It was rundown, and no one ever saw the resident. Philip Schuth was a recluse who…

  • Review,  true crime

    Book Review: Possessed

    I hadn’t planned to do book reviews here but I recently read one that I just have to share. Possessed by Kathryn Casey was free through Amazon Prime so I decided to take a chance. It had good ratings and reviews, 4.5 stars on Amazon and 4.1 on Goodreads. Being free, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. Oh my god, this book! I started reading and was immediately hooked. I finished it in a few days. I also poked around a bit and discovered Ann Rule called her “one of the best in the true crime genre” which is some high praise coming from the queen herself! The…

  • murder,  true crime

    May’s Camera

    Why is it we always want to find a connection to a horrible story? “Oh… that happened to my husband’s co-workers sister’s cousins classmate”. Like that makes us closer to the event. It is almost as if we have to say, look I am closer to this case than you! I kind of know someone involved and you read about it on the internet. I have been guilty of this. I would guess we all have done it. We want to be a part of something, anything. We want to connect to people and events. I can stake the claim that Ed Gein was born in my hometown. Or that…