Since October 2013, Hope House has joined with other domestic violence programs around the state by implementing the Lantern Project. For our part in this statewide project, we added to the lamppost in front of Hope House a purple wreath. We will turn on the light for a week every time there is a death related to domestic violence in Wisconsin. We will post information online about the person(s) that was killed. If you drive by our building and see our lamppost on, please reflect on the deadly impact that domestic violence has on our communities.
Robert Garcia - Age 60 - Kenosha October 29th, 2018
A Kenosha woman may have helped her husband commit suicide — or she may have murdered him.
Dawn McDermid, 62, is being held on $300,000 bond for the death of her husband of 18 years, Robert Garcia. McDermid has not yet been charged — charges are expected Monday — but Deputy District Attorney Angelina Gabriele laid out the potential case against her at a temporary bond hearing Wednesday.
Gabriele said that, at the least, the state plans to charge McDermid with assisting suicide and obstructing police. “It sounds to me that there may be evidence of intentional homicide here,” Commissioner Jon Mason said in setting bond.
McDermid, sometimes crying, sometimes shaking her head as Gabriele spoke to the court, sat in a wheelchair during the hearing.
Kenosha Police were called to McDermid’s home on the 7000 block of 53rd Street at 7:10 p.m. Monday. They found Garcia dead on the floor of the garage. McDermid told them she had come home from spending the day in Chicago to find that her husband had killed himself. She told police she and Garcia had been estranged.
But Gabriele said police became suspicious about the events leading to Garcia’s death and said McDermid eventually admitted to police that she had a hand in it.
“While suicidal steps may have been part of what occurred … she may have prevented him from changing his mind and then prevented him from seeking help,” Gabriele said.
According to Gabriele, McDermid — a former nurse with a master’s degree in nursing — did not find Garcia dead. Instead, she later told police, she found him collapsed in the garage, still breathing.
Instead of providing aid and calling 911, Gabriele said, McDermid went back into her home and put on latex gloves. She returned to the garage, and “used a razor blade to slash his wrists and then left him in the garage to die.”
The prosecutor said McDermid locked the door of the garage so her husband couldn’t get into the home if he came to, and may have turned up the radio on the vehicle in the garage so if he called for help he would not be heard.
Gabriele said the vehicle was found running when police arrived. “There was carbon monoxide, but not in sufficient quantity to cause death,” she said.
She told the court commissioner that the cause and manner of death has not yet been determined by the medical examiner.
According to Gabriele, McDermid had hidden the bloody gloves in her purse, a purse she had with her when she went to the Kenosha Police Department to answer questions. The prosecutor said that McDermid drove to the police station with her son, and that, while they were in the car, she sought his help in disposing of the gloves. He refused, and later told investigators what she had said.
Gabriele said that McDermid later admitted to police that she had flushed the gloves down a toilet at the police station before her arrest.
Gabriele said there was “a large amount of cash” found in McDermid’s purse, along with her husband’s credit cards.
Public defender Ben Schwarz represented McDermid at the temporary bond hearing, although he said she will not qualify for a public defender. He told the court McDermid disputes many of the allegations Gabriele laid out in court.
In the month before his death, Garcia had run-ins with police, including a domestic violence charge.
Garcia, 60, was charged with OWI-second offense on Sept. 19, and was ordered not to drink alcohol as part of his bond.
On Sept. 29, McDermid called police to report that her husband was drunk and being irrational and threatening. According to a criminal complaint for charges filed Oct. 1 against Garcia, McDermid told police on that day that Garcia had come home from work drunk, although he had just gotten out of rehab days before.
She told police she knew that Garcia hides alcohol under the seat of his pickup truck, so she checked and found an empty vodka bottle and a partially consumed bottle under the seat.
“Dawn went on to explain that she confronted Robert with the bottles of alcohol and he was angry,” the complaint stated. “Dawn explained that Robert raised a balled fist in the air while (they were) close to each other and she was afraid Robert was going to hurt her.”
The complaint stated that Garcia left the house, and that he did not hit McDermid.
According to the Oct. 1 complaint, McDermid told police that Garcia had been making suicidal statements in recent weeks. Later the same day, McDermid called police again when Garcia returned home. An officer spoke to him and said he appeared to be intoxicated and smelled of alcohol.
“Robert refused to speak about the earlier incident with Dawn. However, Robert stated that he was not from this planet and that he was going to suffer ‘sleep death.’ Robert would not explain what ‘sleep death’ meant,” but assured police he was not suicidal, the complaint stated.
He was arrested and later charged with disorderly conduct-domestic violence and bail jumping.
The day Garcia died, he was to appear in court for a hearing on the OWI case. When he did not appear in court, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
McDermid is next scheduled to be in court Monday, with the state expected to file charges at that time. If she is charged with assisting suicide, she would face spending up to six years in prison. If charged with first-degree intentional homicide, she faces a mandatory life sentence. Note: she was later charged with reckless homicide. http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/local/woman-charged-with-reckless-homicide-after-husband-s-death/article_0d5540a1-13c1-5be2-bacc-d9ae2808e9f5.html
Meanwhile, she told the court she hoped to post bond.
“I could post it myself if I could have access to my wallet and my keys,” McDermid said.
Elaina Rookard - Age 19, Milwaukee, November 11th, 2018
Milwaukee police are investigating a homicide that happened Sunday night, Nov. 11 near 11th and Keefe. Witnesses and family members of the victim and suspect said there was no reason for someone to lose their life in an argument that started over a man.
It happened around 7:30 p.m.
Police said the victim, identified by family members as 19-year-old Elaina Rookard, and the suspect were involved in an altercation outside of a residence when the victim suffered a serious gunshot wound. The victim was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.
"People saw the goodness in her and loved her for it. She did everything for anybody. You can ask anybody out here. She did something for everybody out here," said Tatty Harris, friend of Rookard.
The 37-year-old suspect was arrested. Her mother, Liz Klepp, is now caring for her two young children, who witnessed the shooting, according to Klepp. Klepp said she believes her daughter was acting in self-defense.
"I'm a basket case. There's nothing else to say. I can see what everybody else goes through now. I tried to talk to her and say 'you can have him. Take him. He's all yours,' but she didn't like that. I don't know what to do. I'm empty. I don't know what to do," said Klepp.
Rookard's loved ones gathered for a vigil in her honor on Monday night. They said Rookard was overcoming obstacles on her way to a bright future -- making a comeback after she was arrested in June for speeding and driving under the influence of a controlled substance with a baby in the car.
"She was actually in the transfer program at MATC to become a social worker through UW-Milwaukee. She had her whole life in front of her. I was so proud of her," said Lyndsey Siskoy, Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentor.
"She was a good person. She had a good heart. She`d give anybody here anything," said Harris.
The investigation continues. Police are not releasing the identity of the suspect until she's charged.
Madeline Wegner - Age 27, Brookfield November 17, 2018
A Franklin man has been charged in connection with the murder of his estranged wife.
Prosecutors charged Sunkeun Kim, 29, with one count of first degree intentional homicide and two counts of felony bail jumping.
According to a criminal complaint, on Sunday evening, Nov. 18, Town of Brookfield police officers were called out to a condo complex near Bluemound Road and Brookfield Road, after a 911 caller indicated her roommate, Madeline Kim, 27, was dead. The roommate said the front door to the home was ajar, and Kim’s body was found on the floor in her bedroom. The roommate said Kim was last seen on Thursday evening, Nov. 15 when she left to go to her parents’ house for the weekend.
A neighbor told investigators late on Friday, Nov. 16/early on Saturday, Nov. 17, he woke up to “several loud thumps in a row,” with his bedroom adjacent to Madeline Kim’s bedroom wall. He said he got up and looked out the window and the lights in Kim’s unit were off. He said he noticed a black Toyota SUV parked in front of the unit’s garage, and said this was suspicious because he knew the residents were out of town. The complaint notes Sunkeun Kim drives a black Toyota SUV.
The complaint notes at the end of September, Sunkeun Kim made his initial appearance in court in Waukesha County on domestic violence charges, including strangulation, false imprisonment, battery and disorderly conduct for incidents in August and September allegedly involving Madeline Kim. The criminal complaint in that case said on Sept. 22, Madeline Kim indicated Sunkeun Kim had been violent with her after “she had three drinks, and he only allows her to have two.” She said he also opened a credit card she received in the mail without her permission — and told her he wanted a divorce, and she would need to repay his parents for the wedding. She said he slapped her in the face, and when she tried to leave, he took her phone and keys before pushing her onto the bed and strangling her. She said she lost consciousness and “thought she was going to die.” She said each time she attempted to leave, she was strangled or hit. She was eventually able to get her phone — texting a friend “save me.” The friend showed up and picked her up.
She told investigators Sunkeun Kim had threatened to kill her, the dog and himself, and showed investigators pictures from late August when he physically assaulted her during an argument about finances.
At this point, Sunkeun Kim was released on $15,000 bond, and ordered to have no contact with Madeline Kim or her residence. The complaint said Madeline Kim told investigators “she was scared of Sunkeun, but loved him and didn’t want him to get into trouble.” She said she believed the physical abuse would continue, and was progressively getting worse.
Madeline Kim filed for divorce on Oct. 29, the complaint said.
The complaint said Madeline Kim reported Sunkeun Kim contacted her on Oct. 10 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union. He was charged with felony bail jumping.
After she was found dead, a search warrant was executed at her home, and the complaint said investigators could not locate her cellphone. The complaint notes Sunkeun Kim took Madeline Kim’s phone during the prior domestic incidents.
As a result of the prior alleged incidents, the complaint said Sunkeun Kim was required to be on GPS monitoring. Investigators learned of a “tamper alert” related to Sunkeun Kim’s GPS device on Monday, Nov. 19, and he reported that he was “having a battery problem with the device over the weekend,” and soon arrived at the GPS company. The complaint said of the two tabs on the GPS tracker that would set off a tamper alarm, the top one was compromised. The GPS records revealed Sunkeun Kim was near Bluemound and Brookfield on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 16 — less than a quarter mile from Madeline Kim’s home.
The complaint said on Tuesday, Nov. 20, detectives observed marks on Sunkeun Kim, including abrasions on his left hand and a burn mark on his left arm. This, after he was approached by the detectives while walking through an alley, who said they wanted to talk to him about his wife. He said he “just heard the news,” and followed the detectives to the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department because they had a search warrant for his phone.
While at the WCSD, the complaint said Sunkeun Kim made statements to the detectives without being questioned, including “I don’t want to go to prison,” and “I need to go home to Korea.”
A search of Sunkeun Kim’s phone revealed searches for things like “shoehorn ankle bracelet trick,” “if you are stabbed in the neck,” “carotid bleeding,” stun gun and stun gun side effects. These searches were deleted, but recovered by investigators. Sunkeun Kim was then taken into custody.
He told investigators on Friday, Nov. 16, he tried to remove his GPS device in the shower. The morning after his arrest, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the complaint said caseworkers went to speak with him as they do for all new lockups, and he was advised of the homicide charges. The complaint said he told them “I need you to tell my attorney I did the homicide. Obviously I’m on GPS.”
The complaint said an autopsy revealed Madeline Kim was strangled to death and suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Madeline Kim’s mother indicated Sunkeun Kim moved about $23,000 out of the joint bank account for Madeline and Sunkeun during the first week of November, and noted that her daughter was “scared of Sunkeun” and “afraid he would kill her.”
Kim made his initial appearance in court in this case on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Cash bond was set at $1 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 13.
Unnamed Baby Boy - Age 7 weeks, OshKosh November 29th, 2018
An Oshkosh man has been charged in the shaking death of his infant child.
Cory D. Lyons, 27, is charged with 1st Degree Reckless Homicide in Winnebago County.
On Nov. 29, Oshkosh Police were called to a local hospital for a report of a pulse-less, non-breathing, seven-week-old child.
Officers interviewed the child's mother who said she had left the baby in the care of the father, Cory Lyons, while she was at work. It was her first day back at work since she had given birth, according to a criminal complaint.
The mom told police that Lyons called her at about 7 p.m. that night to tell her the child's breathing wasn't right and she needed to come home. The mom arrived at the family's home at 547 W. 8th Ave to find the baby making "gasping" sounds.
Doctors performed a CT scan and found the child was suffering from a brain bleed. The child later died at the hospital.
Police spoke with Lyons who said the child had been "fussing." He initially tried to blame his dogs for injuring the baby, but police questioned their ability to cause a brain bleed.
Lyons continued to change his story. First, he said the dogs jumped on the child. Then he said he may have put the baby down too hard. Then he said he dropped the baby on the floor.
Eventually, Lyons told police that he had become " highly frustrated" with the child's fussing and crying and "jerked him." Lyons described placing his hands around the child under his arms and around the rib cage. He then demonstrated how he jerked the child.
Lyons said he shook the baby between five and six times.
"He had explained that he was frustrated. He stated the child's head snapped back and came forward. The defendant acknowledged that he had not been supporting the child's head in any way at this time," reads the criminal complaint.
At this point, the child was still crying. Lyons told police that he set the child down and walked away.
Lyons appeared in court Dec. 4. Cash bond was set at $250,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.