A Minocqua man, 69, was charged Tuesday with killing his wife more than three decades ago, perhaps using a "pry bar" to beat her in the head, according to a criminal complaint.
Robin Mendez was charged with first-degree murder in the April 28, 1982, death of Barbara Mendez, whose beaten body was found at Park City Credit Union where she worked.
A day earlier, a "so depressed" Mrs. Mendez told a friend she thought she was going to die soon and "couldn't take it anymore," complaining that she and her husband were growing apart, they never did anything anymore and she wanted the marriage to work even if he had an affair with a teenage girl from their church, the complaint said.
An autopsy determined Mrs. Mendez suffered “multiple blunt injuries, abrasions and lacerations of head, with extensive skull fractures.” Investigators believe a “pry bar” or a “Wonder Bar” was used in the attack.
The 36-page complaint uses mostly circumstantial evidence to make the case against him. For example:
As for a possible confession, Mendez told the then-Minocqua police chief, “If I kill myself, then you all won't know 50 years from now about the murder,” the complaint said. The chief found the comment "extremely strange."
And the teen involved in the affair with Mendez said she was at his home after Mrs. Mendez's body was discovered and he told her, "I'm footloose and fancy free now."
During a brief hearing in Oneida County Circuit Court on Tuesday, a judge ordered Mendez, who did not have an attorney and was arrested Monday, jailed on a $250,000 bond.
The sheriff's department said it has worked with the Minocqua Police Department on the case for 36 years, interviewing every witness again the past few months.
In a statement, District Attorney Michael Schiek said, "We feel at this time the evidence supports the arrest."
Other details outlined in the criminal complaint: