Thoresons' family releases statement, community reacts to murder - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Thoresons' family releases statement, community reacts to murders


LAFAYETTE COUNTY (WKOW) -- The family of the three homicide victims from the South Wayne area say they're devastated.

On Monday, a pastor from the family's church read their statement to the media, reacting to the deaths of couple Gary and Chloe Thoreson and Gary's brother Dean Thoreson. The three were found murdered inside Gary and Chloe's home in the town of Wiota Sunday morning.

"I asked them to make a statement and they could only come up with those words.. 'raw', 'unbelievable', 'surreal', 'devastating'," says Rev. Luke Smetters, a pastor at Wiota Lutheran Church. "There's a lot happening all at once for the family, they're very, very overwhelmed, I think we just all need some time to rest."

Smetters says the family is beginning the grieving process and making funeral arrangements for 70-year old Gary Thoreson, his 66-year old wife Chloe, and his 76-year old brother Dean Thoreson.

Friends and family say Gary and Dean were life-long farmers. The brothers founded the Layfayette County Pork Producers Association back in the 1970's, to encourage more people to get involved in the pork industry.

Wayne Wilson, Argyle's village president, also worked with the association for years. He says people living in the small towns surrounding Wiota are all in shock.

"Couldn't believe it, just couldn't believe what happened, especially to people who never hurt a soul in their life, well-respected people, you just don' t expect those things to happen," says Wilson.

Gary Thoreson was formerly the president of the Blackhawk School District Board of Education. He served on that board from 1992-2001.

Dean Thoreson was on the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors starting in 2002 and was instrumental in the project to build the Wiota Lutheran Church.

Chloe Thoreson worked for more than 20 years at Monroe Clinic. All three were actively involved in their church and community.

27 News reached out to a number of people in the area. Almost everyone knew at least one of the Thoreson family members and said they were good people and couldn't ask for better neighbors.

Smetters says the family has invited the public to a prayer vigil at Wiota Lutheran Church on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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