DOC denies The Wausonian's records request into how Cindy Schulz-Juedes died
Fond du Lac police are investigating her death as a homicide
One of the challenges of journalism is that a lot of the work journalists do go unrecognized. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to demonstrate the value of good journalism.
Plenty of the work we do simply doesn’t generate a story. Investigating a rumor that turns out to be totally untrue: should that be a story? Or would that just spread the false rumor.
This is one of those cases. I’ve been working to find out what happened to Cindy Schulz-Juedes since she died in prison recently.
And so far, that hasn’t gone well.
Why? Right now the DOC is playing games with transparency, frankly. It’s using every excused in the book to deny any records request it can, using the flimsiest of excuses.
For instance: I was told to wait by an insider to file my request because another outlet had been denied because they requested a record that didn’t exist. They were asking for a report, and the report hadn’t been finished yet. Hence, denied.
Any reasonable organization would have written back and said they could have the record when it’s finished. That would be a reasonable approach by any organization that’s truly dedicated to transparency.
I learned today that my own request was denied, in this case because the records are part of an ongoing investigation. That tells us that most likely this wasn’t simply a case of death by natural cause. Not more than two weeks after it happened. That surely would have been wrapped up. (Unless there was quite a backlog in the forensic autopsy lab. That is a strong possibility.)
The Fond du Lac police chief told a TV station that Schulz-Juedes’ death is being investigated as a homicide. Nothing further has been provided so far.
Rest assured, The Wausonian will be sticking with this story.
TV show appearance
Your Wausonian reporter will be appearing on a TV show. The cable network TV show will focus on the Ken Juedes murder.
The show’s producers reached out when they read one of my Wausonian stories. They will be in town next week to conduct interviews.
Keep reading The Wausonian to learn more details about the show, where to find it, etc.
Weston Clerk charges
Today I sent out a second email to District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon asking about the status of any charges against former Weston Utility Clerk Theresa Coleman. Everest Metro Police completed their investigation and requested charges be brought against Colemen.
Coleman was fired earlier this year after an internal investigation revealed she had been stealing from the village. Everest Metro started an investigation into potential criminal charges.
Wetzsteon never responded. Today I sent a follow up email, explaining that considering the public nature of the crimes involving taxpayer dollars, the public deserves to know whether or not she will be charged.
Hello- I appreciate your follow up. This matter was referred to the DA’s Office in the middle of July 2023 for review. We will review the case in a timely manner in accordance with our Office practices and determine whether charges are appropriate. Thank you for your inquiry.
Former village board member Joel Straub helped spark an investigation that Marathon County passed on to the Stevens Point Police Department (because Straub is a board member, the county had a conflict of interest). SPPD finished its investigation and sent it along to the Lincoln County DA for a charging decision.
The whole thing is essentially a dispute with his neighbor. It’s something he pursued as a board member, as emails The Wausonian uncovered showed. I met with Straub once, who explained in great detail the situation.
As stated, it was mostly a dispute between neighbors, but the existence of the criminal investigation that I was able to independently confirm makes it newsworthy. I have now sent multiple emails to the Lincoln County DA and have not yet once gotten a response. Today I sent another.
Straub last month wanted me to see the latest development but I had to come to his house. I told him I would not be doing that unless he told me what it was first. He told me that was my last change or he would be going to another media outlet. It doesn’t appear any other media outlet took him up on his offer either, as far as I can tell.