Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Spanbauer, Serial Child Killer and Rapist

The Last Bicycle

Spanbauer was on a roll in the summer and autumn of 1994.  It was the longest stint of freedom he ever tasted since he was 19 years old.  It was overwhelming.  He exploited it.  For him, robbery, rape and murder were addicting if you did not get caught.

His crime spree continued throughout the Fox Valley region.  He burglarized homes with the intention of there being no confrontation, just a matter of getting the goods, in and out, but if a person were home, he produced a pistol to finish the robbery at gunpoint. On July 9th, less than a week later after he attacked Stariha, Spanbauer broke into a home in Appleton armed with a handgun.  He thought nobody was home, but he found 21-year-old Trudi Jeschke in a bedroom and fired one shot into her chest.  She would have been a witness. She died from the bullet wound.  He later ditched the gun at Menominee Park in Oshkosh.

On Labor Day, September 5th, a 12-year-old girl from nearby Weyauwega rode her bike on Sanders Road near her grandma's house in the township of Dayton.  It wasn't far from the place where Spanbauer ran down Stariha in his car.  He got her into his car and molested her and he drove 75 miles north up into Langlade County near Kempster.  Five or six hours transpired from when he picked her up and when he finally decided to end it.   He strangled and stabbed her and threw her body into a steep ditch. 

Police organized a search for the missing girl using a country church for the headquarters.  Hundreds of volunteers helped canvass the surrounding woods in a ten mile perimeter and the FBI joined the case.  Her body was found body five days later.  Her name was Cora Jones.

Cora Jones
Cora Jones

His attacks continued and occurred with regularity. On October 20th, he raped a fifteen year old girl and on November 5th, he raped a 31-year-old woman in the Appleton area.  By now the Waupaca County Sheriff's Department, the Langlade County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation were on the case, suspecting the string of assaults and murders were more than a coincidence.

Waupaca County Sheriff's Department
Waupaca County Sheriff's Department


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