Jackson County reopening cold cases from 1978 and 1990 - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jackson County reopening cold cases from 1978 and 1990


BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WXOW) - Two cold criminal cases in Jackson County are getting a new look thanks to advanced forensic technology.

At a news conference Monday in Black River Falls, Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera and department investigators announced they are re-opening two cases from 1978 and 1990 in the hopes of identifying the two bodies involved in those cases. Sheriff Waldera does not think either of the victims are from Jackson County.

In the first case, a decapitated head was found in a forested area east of Fish Creek in the Town of Knapp on August 15, 1978.  At the time, authorities were able to determine that it belonged to a 45-year-old white male. Based on what investigators found, they labeled the case as a homicide.

The second case dates from October 10, 1990, when the headless body of an approximately 24-year-old woman was discovered in two shallow graves in the Town of Brockway. Fingerprints of the woman were taken then, but no match was found in any databases. The only identifying feature was a mushroom tattoo on the woman.

In both cases, the department is working with the forensics program at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas to identify the remains and any additional evidence. Jackson County has already sent evidence from the 1978 case to the university. The remains from the 1990 case are headed to Texas soon.

Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera said these two cases are "Haunting this county." Waldera said these cases are challenging because the techniques used in the past aren't as accurate as techniques used today. He said it'd be irresponsible not to look back at these cases and hopes to identify the victims and eventually solve both cases.

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