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 location where the body was found. The police went to the area and found fresh tire tracks from a U-turn, broken dentures, blood, and a man’s watch.
Police have been unable to identify the victim because her hands and the labels in her clothes were removed. The serial number on the broken dentures lead nowhere. The woman has been named Vernon County Jane Doe. She is believed to have been 50-65 years old, 5’5″ to 5’6″ tall, and 150 pounds. She is Caucasian with brown hair graying at the temples. Her hair appeared to have been recently permed.
In 205 she was exhumed, and DNA was harvested, and a new forensic facial reconstruction was released. In 2018 pollen on her clothing was tested and was found to be specific to, “an urban area in semi-arid highlands or lowest elevation of the temperate sierra” aka Arizona or New Mexico.
Is it possible she was a snowbird passing through? The timing is about right. Was she abducted from the southwest? Obviously, the perp had some time with her, enough to remove clothing labels and her hands. If we can’t solve this, maybe we can at least give her name back. Someone has to know who she is.
The next two cases had very little information online. It was actually very sad. I had never heard of these, and I grew up in the area with interest in true crime. Every few years we would get reminders/updates on Evelyn Hartley and Terry Dolowy but these two seem to have fallen off the map. They deserve to be solved too.
Linda Wegner was a 31-year-old nurse aid, wife, and mother. She had been married to Glenn, a produce and dairy manager, for four years. They had a one-year-old daughter.
Linda had the day off on April 19, 1988. She was at home in the town of Shelby. Glenn had called home around noon, and no one answered. He arrived home around 5:30 pm to find his wife in the bathroom with her throat slashed. Thankfully their one-year-old daughter was unharmed.
Police believe she was murdered before noon. No weapon was ever recovered. There was no sign of struggle, forced entry, or sexual assault. The comforter, sheets, and her purse were missing.
Construction workers nearby didn’t hear anything. An older pickup truck was seen in the area, but the truck or driver was never identified. Police believe the murderer may have been an unknown salesman selling driveway repair or seal coating. There was an $11,000 reward offered, but the killer was never identified.
On February 15, 1989, the frozen, partially clad body of Chicago woman Bette Jean Kawczynski, 28, was discovered in Tomah, Wisconsin by two high schoolers. She may have been there since early January. It is believed she was murdered elsewhere and then dumped. She had a skull fracture and was strangled with a rope.
She was found only in panties and knee-high socks. She was identified by her dental, medical records, and tattoo. Her thumbprint matched to a Bette Wilson from a 1983 conviction for possessing a controlled substance in DuPage County. It is believed she was a drug addict and prostitute.
Her mother, Dorothy Bouzkek, hadn’t seen Bette in two or three years. She had last spoken with Bette in November. She did not know her daughter was missing and didn’t understand why she would be in Wisconsin. Bouzkek said Bette did not drive.
This is everything I could find on Linda Wegner and Bette Kawczynski. These women deserve justice. Hopefully, someday, these horrible crimes will be solved.
If you have any information on any of these cases, please contact proper authorities. Let’s help Vernon County Jane Doe get her name back and find justice for all three of these women.