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Madison Unsolved Homicides


jaybird2001wi

This may be a bit of old and new news, but there have been three unsolved homicides involving college students in or around Madison since June/July. I think this is a bit rare to me since Madison is a predominant college town and given past history, national media makes a big deal out of Madison Crimes (see: Audrey Seiler case awhile back). I have heard on the news that Madison citizens are on edge right now with the recent killing of Brittany Zimmermann.

The recent homicide captured FoxNews attention to the point where Greta Van Susteren and Mark Fuhrmann of OJ Simpson trial fame discussed the issue in Madison and CNN's Nancy Grace had a discussion about it as well. Since I am in the Milwaukee media market like most people on here are, how have the Madison media handled this? How far along has the Madison PD gone towards the investigations Kelly Nolan, Zimmermann and the 31-year-old graduate student? Does it look like any of these homicides are anywhere near being solved?

I assume Noble Wray is being very tight-lipped about the investigations given the fact that he and the police force were badly burned over the Seiler case a few years earlier and may not be disclosing as much information to prevent another bad PR mark on the Madison PD.

I know hawing is from Madison, but are there others? Is the community really on edge to the point where citizens want answers?

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I wouldn't say "on edge," but I think there is concern. We've had year-long murder-free stretches since I moved here (in 1997), and now we've had several, and the cops can't seem to figure them out. I am not going to grumble about the incompetence of the police department; I know that it can take awhile to figure these things out. (We're spoiled by TV, where crimes get solved in an hour or less.) But they seem a little overmatched by these crimes. I hope it's just a matter of time and diligence.
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I don't watch much of the local news, but I don't think they're over-doing it. On the local web outlets, they usually have the story at the top with any new developments.

 

As far as residents go, I think the downtown area is much more concerned about this since it's been happening in their neighborhoods--that's not to say we're not all somewhat concerned.

 

I think the biggest thing now is the homeless angle. They say a guy was panhandling just before Zimmerman was found and now the cops have taken in dozens of homeless for probation holds, warrants, etc. and I just hope this isn't giving people a false sense of security. They have been questioned, but no one is being held in connection to this.

"His whole life is a fantasy camp. People should plunk down $2000 to live like him for a week. Sleep, do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbors and have sex without dating... THAT'S a fantasy camp."
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I think that there is some edginess becasue of the random nature of these crimes and where they took place (and who the victims were). That said murders do happen in and around Madison more frequently then some people think so some of this is overblown IMO.

 

I can't criticize the police. This is allegedly a random act which must be hard to solve quickly without witnesses or other source of identification.

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I live on West Washington about 3 blocks from where she was killed. There is a definite elevation of police and awareness, our landlord is inspecting our locks and security in our building. People seem to be a little "on edge", especially with 2 unsolved, apparently random, murders in a short time period.

 

My mom is kind of freaking out about it, but she watches those bad cable news shows, like Nancy Grace, which get her even more worked up. Those "news" shows are absolute trash. They just find the most shocking, murder, sex offense, child abduction etc. and speculate about it, and then speculate some more, then call on an expert, and have them speculate about it. They are just capitalizing on a terrible situation.

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In a personal-security sense, it would be helpful to know a little more about what happened (did the victim interrupt a burglary? Were the doors on the house locked, suggesting a break-in, or was the perpetrator just looking for unlocked houses, which in that neighborhood is not super uncommon?). However, I realize that police have to balance the release of details with the integrity of the investigation. I expect that's why they aren't sharing all the information they have.

 

I used to live pretty close to the neighborhood where the January homicide happened, and my medical clinic is very close to Brittingham Park. So for me, these have hit "close to home." But I am reluctant to criticize police at this time. Not every crime is like that one in Cambridge where the dude murdered the Realtor during an appointment he'd made with her. Hmm, I wonder why he was apprehended so quickly?

Remember: the Brewers never panic like you do.
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I live downtown on campus (albeit more near Camp Randall) but it is a bit scary considering the random nature of the murders. I mean...this last girl was murdered in her own home (and hawing, as I have been hearing, the doors on the home were unlocked, suggesting that the killer meandered into her home without trouble and committed the crime). One of my good friends (and roommate last year) lives only 4 houses down from where this occurred (and I have two other friends who live on the same stretch) so saying that it's "close to home" is more real that you can imagine. Hopefully the police put an end to this stuff soon; I would never surmise that things of this nature would happen here in Madison...UWM campus may be a little more believable considering its proximity to Milwaukee (and all that Milwaukee is unfortunately notorious for, and as a side note, I am originally from Milwaukee so I am not truly biased having lived in both places). But again, hopefully it comes to an abrupt end in the near future and the perpetrator(s?) will be behind bars for a long time.
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I live in one of the tower apartment buildings near State St. A long list of crimes has occurred within a block of me--a sexual assault last year and this year there have been several muggings. I know two people who live on Doty St. about a block down from where the murder occurred. They (and others) are definitely, but I wouldn't say anyone is freaking out besides maybe parents who hear the exaggerated version on the news. The fact is that almost all of the crimes involve either alcohol or occur late at night when people are walking alone in dark places. Thus, most people are just exercising the precautions that they should have been doing the entire time, such as not walking home alone at night.

 

At my apartment, I hear screaming quite frequently, there have been several shouting matches with swearing--I don't really make much of it since it's usually a domestic type thing and there is usually alcohol involved. An intoxicated person got trapped in the elevator a few months ago and made enough noise that the entire 10-story building heard him. A fire alarm gets pulled about every other weekend. Vandalism happens all of the time. All this stuff I see as just a consequence of living near the bars and almost always there are no innocent bystanders involved. But you can see by these examples why most people usually don't go out alone at night around here.

 

The scary part of the murder is that it seems to have happened during the day and that the person may have randomly picked her out. However, I have heard so many rumors that I don't know what is fact at what isn't--I've heard that she was either shot or stabbed, it happened in the day or the night before, that the murderer either followed her home or broke in, etc.

 

I assume the facts will come out eventually, it will be interesting to see whether there is a DNA match with the other murder, which definitely would cause a stir. Those tests take several weeks, though, so we'll give it time. In the meantime, I have been seeing way more police cars around, so hopefully they will catch the person.

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