Book details Rock County 'unsolved' murders
To buy the book
The magazine-style, self-published book "Rock County's Unsolved Murders" is available for $11 at Walgreens stores in Janesville and Beloit and at some gas stations and convenience stores. Learn more at rockcountyunsolvedmurders.com.
A portion of sales will be donated to CrimeStoppers.
If you have information about the crimes in the book or other crimes, call Janesville Area CrimeStoppers at (608) 756-3636 or Greater Beloit Area CrimeStoppers at (608) 362-7463.
It reads like a cross between a murder mystery and a Rock County Coroner's Office scrapbook.
It's been described by one Wisconsin prison inmate as more popular than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
And proceeds from the sales will be used to solve crimes.
Beloit resident Terri L. Garcia, 45, is selling copies of a magazine-style, self-published collection of stories she has written about murder victims with Rock County ties. Titled "Rock County's Unsolved Mysteries", the book is available for purchase online and at Walgreens stores in Beloit and Janesville.
Most of the 28 victims in the book lived in Rock County; the rest were found dead in the county. Most of the crimes were or are under the jurisdiction of the Beloit Police Department. A handful took place in Janesville and even fewer around the county.
They range in time from 1969 to 2011. One case will be marked as 30 years old this summer. Police still hope to find out who killed Edgerton woman Barbara Nelson and left her body in a field near Elkhorn. Walworth and Dane county sheriff's investigators are working together on the case, according to a recent news release from the departments.
Garcia does not consider the book an exhaustive list of every unsolved murder in the county.
She also uses the word "unsolved" differently than police.
Garcia's list of unsolved murders includes those in which no one was convicted of murder. Police don't agree with that definition, Beloit Police Department Capt. Bill Tyler said. In some cases, police are "reasonably certain" they arrested the right suspect even if that person is never convicted, Tyler said.
In some cases, suspects died before they were convicted. Some suspects were acquitted in trial. One ended up in custody because he was mentally ill and considered a danger to himself or other people.
That doesn't mean police keep the case open, Tyler said.
In many of the cases in Garcia's book, however, no one was arrested, and the cases still are under investigation.
Garcia was motivated to write the book because she was close to one victim whose family waited nearly 20 years for justice.
David Landwehr, 22, of Beloit was fatally stabbed in 1988 on Vine Street in Beloit after an argument about a phone bill. Ezequiel Lopez Zavala, who was dating Landwehr's sister, was arrested in Illinois and charged with the murder.
Lopez was held in the Winnebago County Jail on a $50,000 bond. A paperwork mix-up led to his release when his family posted $5,000, according to Gazette stories from 1988.
He disappeared until October 2007, when he was picked up for an outstanding warrant in the state of Washington, where he had been living under a fake identity. He was fingerprinted, and police the next day issued a warrant accusing him of first-degree intentional homicide.
Lopez pleaded no contest to a charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Garcia, who works in a tax office and as an in-home caretaker for the elderly, always has had an interest in police science, she said. As a child, she read detective magazines. Garcia self-published the unsolved murders collection after writing it by hand over several years.
"I started handwriting it, and I finished handwriting it," Garcia said. "I filled notebook after notebook after notebook."
She gathered information online and from archived copies of the Beloit Daily News. In some cases, she interviewed victims' families. When she was able to connect with family members, she found they were happy to talk about their loved ones, she said.
The magazine-style book has been well received, Garcia said. She already has sold more than 300 copies and has donated $300 to Janesville Area CrimeStoppers. People like reading about local history and like reading murder mysteries, she said.
Garcia's book is peppered with the names of former Rock County coroners, sheriffs and police chiefs, making it a fun read for people with an interest in Rock County history.
One of Garcia's relatives is an inmate at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institute in Plymouth. He told her the book has been "more popular than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition," Garcia said.
Garcia hopes her book leads to arrests and convictions in more cases.
If the cases are fresh in the public's mind, someone might come forward with information, she said.
"Somebody knows what happened in at least some of these cases," Garcia said. "Somebody knows. I just want the information out there."
ROCK COUNTY COLD CASES
Beloit resident Terri Garcia has written about 28 people who were victims of murders in Rock County. While police consider some of the cases closed, many still are open, and no convictions have been made in any of the cases.
Here is the list from her self-published book "Rock County's Unsolved Murders":
Albert Buehl, 62, Janesville, was found on June 16, 1969, shot to death in a downtown Janesville liquor store. No arrests have been made.
Marlene Mulholland, 29, was found shot dead Feb. 16, 1977, in her Evansville home. Her husband was charged, but the charges were dropped.
Barbara Nelson, 34, of Edgerton was found dead Aug. 10, 1982, on Bray Road near Elkhorn. She had been badly beaten. She had been last seen five days earlier at the Mini Stop and Shop in Albion where she worked. Walworth and Dane county sheriff's investigators this month announced through the Wisconsin Crime Network that the departments are jointly investigating the murder that is 30 years old this summer.
Virginia Hendrickson, 23, of rural Janesville was found dead June 5, 1988, in her home on Knilans Road south of Janesville. Her 1-year-old daughter was found safe, although dehydrated, in her crib upstairs. Hendrickson had been brutally beaten and stabbed.
James Elliot, 35, of Janesville was found shot dead in his pickup truck Jan. 7, 1989, at Keeler and Prairie avenues in Beloit. One man was arrested during the investigation, but no one was charged with homicide.
Lorri Huebner, 27, of Beloit was reported dead June 8, 1990, at her home. Her husband in 2001 was charged with second-degree reckless homicide, but the charge had to be dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. Huebner's sister, Terri Schradel, ran for Rock County coroner because she thought her sister's death investigation was mishandled. She was elected.
Steven A. Cartwright of Beloit was found dead April 27, 1991, at Wisconsin and Randall avenues in Beloit. He was found about an hour after a report that a group of men jumped out of a car and opened fire on a group of people in the intersection. The group scattered, and no one else was injured.
C.D. Jackson of Beloit was found dead Dec. 5, 1994, on a roadside in Bradford Township in eastern Rock County. He died of a massive cocaine overdose, according to police records. Three people were arrested, but charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment were dropped.
Terryl Stanford, 29, was found dead Aug. 24, 1994, near the parking lot of Naughty But Nice, 3503 E. County S, in Turtle Township. She was barefoot, but her body showed no obvious signs of injury. The Chicago woman had no local connection. A North Carolina man was arrested but the charges were dropped after investigators determined he was not in Wisconsin at the time of Stanford's death.
Russell Miller, 33, was beaten to death on Dec. 3, 1996, in his Janesville home. A jury found two men not guilty of the murder, and Janesville police closed the case.
Brian Brown, 27, Beloit, was found dead Dec. 15, 1996, at Bayliss Avenue and Greenview Drive in Beloit. He had suffered massive internal injuries consistent with being struck by a car, but police thought his death was suspicious.
Devon James and John Ostrum, Beloit 18-year-olds, were found shot to death March 19, 1997, in a car at the intersection of Wisconsin and Dewey avenues in Beloit. A Beloit 19-year-old was found not guilty of two charges of first-degree intentional homicide.
Crystal Linn Soulier, 18, Shell Lake, was found dead March 22, 1997, near Naughty But Nice in Turtle Township. Investigators think she had been dead for several months when her body was found. Her body was identified through pictures of jewelry and dental records. Like Stanford, Soulier was found barefoot. The same Rock County Sheriff's Office detective is assigned to the two cases.
Edward Gardner, 26, Beloit, was found dead in an apartment in the 300 block of Euclid Avenue in Beloit on Jan. 31, 2000. He had been shot about 12 hours before his girlfriend found his body.
Michael Sims, 25, Beloit, was shot to death April 15, 2001, in his home on Dewey Avenue in Beloit. Three men ran from the home carrying boxes, according to online court records, and three people were arrested.
Stephanie Huebner, 14, Beloit, died Nov. 17, 2001, of an acute asthma attack. Her father was arrested on a charge of felony child neglect. While being questioned about her death, he confessed to killing the girl's mother, Lorri Huebner, in 1990. Charges were dropped in the child-neglect case, because tests revealed the girl had taken asthma medication.
Anthony Kundert, 56, of Beloit was found dead Dec. 19, 2003, in a motel on Dearborn Street in Beloit. Motel management called police for help evicting a customer who had not checked out. Police arrived to find Kundert brutally beaten.
Carmella Ball, 42, of Beloit was found dead of multiple stab wounds Sept. 20, 2005, in the 900 block of Oak Street in Beloit.
Aida Stoehr, 52, was found dead in her home in the 1000 block of Central Avenue in Beloit. She had been brutally stabbed, her children told Garcia.
Angelia Warf, 37, was found dead in her home June 16 2007 in the 900 block of Harrison Avenue in Beloit. Numerous items were reported missing from the home. Police said the death was not a random act of violence and that the Ball, Stoehr and Warf cases are not related.
Joseph Debuque, 18, of Beloit died Feb. 8, 2009, at Sixth Street and Olympian Avenue, Beloit, as a result of a drive-by shooting. Police did not think the act was random.
Gina Zamora, 17, died Sept. 14, 2009, at Beloit Memorial Hospital, Beloit, after an unknown number of people opened fire on a group of people in the yard of her home in the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Beloit.
Cortez Johnson, 27, and Latoya Peyton, 24, both of Beloit died of gunshot wounds July 4, 2010, at Roosevelt Avenue and Parker Court, Beloit. Police did not think the incident was random or a murder-suicide.
Bilal L. Hammette, 18, left his Beloit home Aug. 6, 2011, and did not return home. His family and police considered the disappearance suspicious.
Marjorie Sands, 91, was found dead on Sept. 18 in her Turtle Township home. The death at first was declared an accident, but police later got information that lead them to believe Sands might have been killed. Sands' body was exhumed. An autopsy indicated her death was a homicide. The Rock County Sheriff's Office this month announced detectives were seeking the public's help in the investigation. People with information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward from CrimeStoppers or the Sands family.