Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Capital City Murders


In Dec 1999, Capt. James Lamar of the Sheriff's Department Operations Division in Portage County, Wisconsin discussed the murder of Janet Raasch with the Portage County Gazette. There's not much investigators can do right now without new information. Lamar said. An investigator has been assigned to the case, which is literally a box of paperwork. It's considered an open case here ... we do periodically review it. We truly feel we have exhausted everything available at the time but again it's subject to review."

Lt. Gary Moore of UW Police WISCTV
Lt. Gary Moore of UW

Detective Harlan Hetrick of the UW Police Department gave an interview to WISCTV on May 10, 2002 regarding the murder of Donna Mraz, in which he stated that she was a decent person, honorable person, not a person with a problem, just enjoying going to school doing a good job." During that same segment, former UW Police Lt. Gary Moore said, "It isn't just a job, it becomes an obsession, in ways ... everybody who worked the case felt the same way. This case, really it haunts you. It really shook me to my core, that's for sure."

Deputy Coroner David Scullion gave an interview to the Portage County Gazette in which he said, I personally feel there are several similarities. The patterns are wooded areas, off the road aways in concealed area(s).

It is also interesting to note that each victim was young, wore her hair long and parted it in the same manner eerily reminiscent of Ted Bundys victims and all of the victims were found within a short distance of Madison. In addition, they were all somehow associated with the University of Wisconsin either through classes, employment or living at a campus residence.

At one point in 1984, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to several of the killings, but later recanted those confessions. Many of the original investigators still feel Lucas was responsible for some of the murders, but given his track record for false confessions and the fact that Lucas was in prison at the times many of the murders were committed, it is very doubtful that Lucas was involved.

When a series of murders stops, police and citizens alike are very relieved. Its not always clear that the murders have really stopped and the killer is not just in some cooling-off period or is perhaps disposing of the victims in a way that their remains will not be found. What is probably called for is a an additional two-pronged investigation to determine from missing persons reports whether the killer may still be active and covering up the evidence of his crimes and, if he is not determined to be active, what may account for the murders ending in November of 1984. A review of local suspects and violent offenders incarcerated in the mid-1980s could shed some light on the reason the murders stopped when they did.


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