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John Hanson
November 25th 04, 04:01 PM
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/special_packages/hunter_shooting/10267284.htm

Wisconsin hunter shooting spree

Investigators hit case hard

Similarities to unsolved 2001 slaying noted

BY KEVIN HARTER and PHILLIP PIÑA

Pioneer Press


HAYWARD, Wis. — Investigators returned Wednesday to the scene of
Sunday's deer hunter killings, hoping to sort out two versions of how
six people died.

The state attorney general's office took over the case, meanwhile,
restricting information from the Sawyer County sheriff and getting one
of the survivors to cancel a news conference.

Charges were not expected to be filed in the case until Monday at the
earliest.

Sheriff Jim Meier said investigators interviewed survivors of the
shootings again and also questioned other members of the hunting party
who hadn't been interviewed previously. They were trying to sort out
variations between the accounts of one wounded hunters and suspect
Chai Soua Vang of St. Paul.

Meier also said investigators returned to the shooting scene 90 miles
northeast of the Twin Cities to look for more forensic evidence, but
he wouldn't divulge the results of any of those efforts or of
autopsies done on the victims.

Security concerns have prompted court officials to hold Chai Soua
Vang's court appearance next week in the Sawyer County Jail instead of
the county courthouse.

Meanwhile, authorities in nearby Clark County said they would like to
question Chai Soua Vang to see if he knows anything about the unsolved
shooting death of another deer hunter in 2001.

A Clark County sheriff's deputy said last weekend's shootings had
vague similarities to the death three years ago of Jim Southworth, 37,
of Medford, Wis. Southworth's body was found on family land Nov. 24,
2001, a day after he had gone deer hunting by himself.

"We're not considering Mr. Vang a suspect. We're considering him a
possible witness," said Chief Deputy Jim Backus of the Clark County
Sheriff's Department in Neillsville.

Several possible similarities mark Southworth's death and Sunday's
shootings near the town of Meteor in Sawyer County:

• Clark County investigators theorize that Southworth, who ran a
cheese company in Gilman, had a confrontation with another hunter who
trespassed on his family's land — the same circumstance that allegedly
sparked last weekend's shootings.

• Southworth was shot twice in the back. Some of the victims in
Sunday's shootings had also been shot in the back.

• Witnesses in the Clark County case said they saw three Asian males
standing near a pickup in the vicinity about the time Southworth is
believed to have been shot. Chai Soua Vang owns a midsize pickup, and
authorities said he had gone to Sawyer County last weekend with some
friends to hunt but had become lost on his own.

On Wednesday, Rusk County Sheriff's Department investigators found and
interviewed three of Chai Soua Vang's friends who came with him last
weekend from the Twin Cities. Officials said not all of them were
hunters, but authorities refused to comment further.

Bartz said that although Chai Soua Vang held a nonresident hunting
license in Wisconsin in 2001, authorities were having to manually
check thousands of records to see if he reported shooting any deer in
Clark County that year.

Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said Wednesday that the
state's Department of Justice would file charges against Chai Soua
Vang on Monday "at the earliest."

Lautenschlager's office took over the case after Sawyer County
District Attorney Thomas E. Van Roy requested a special prosecutor.

Chai Soua Vang, 36, is being held in the Sawyer County Jail in Hayward
on $2.5 million bond.

All the victims were from the Rice Lake area. The dead were: Robert
Crotteau, 42; his son Joseph Crotteau, 20; Allan Laski, 43; Mark
Roidt, 28; Dennis Drew, 55; and Jessica Willers, 27.

Willers' father, Terry Willers, 47, was wounded but discharged late
Wednesday from St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. Lauren Hesebeck,
48, was also wounded but was released from the Rice Lake hospital
Monday.

Hesebeck has been interviewed by investigators. He retained a media
"coordinator," who had scheduled a news conference Wednesday to give
his first public account of the shootings. But the event was canceled
without explanation.

It appears investigators are now trying to reconcile two versions of
the shooting, and they have renewed their search for physical evidence
that might tend to support or disprove one or the other.

According to Hesebeck, Willers and the other hunters confronted Chai
Soua Vang after he had trespassed on their property. He was told to
leave, began walking away and then turned and fired on the hunters,
some of whom were unarmed.

In a statement to a sheriff's deputy the morning after the shootings,
Chai Soua Vang claimed that after he was told to leave, he was
surrounded by several hunters who began yelling racial slurs at him.

Chai Soua Vang was born in Laos, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and
served a stint in the California National Guard.

Chai Soua Vang claimed Willers fired the first shot. In the statement,
he said he returned fire, but he also conceded that he shot victims in
the back and that some victims were unarmed.

On Wednesday, hunters in Wisconsin's north woods continued to react
with dismay about the weekend's shootings. Some said they doubted the
suspect's account. People in the area grow up hunting and they are
familiar with each other, the woods and the rules of hunting, said
John Kristensen of Birchwood, a hunter for some 40 years.

He said he can't believe a local hunter would ever fire first at
another human. It's not in their nature, he said.

Meanwhile, in a tribute to Sunday's victims, city crews in Rice Lake
decorated utility poles throughout downtown with big
hunter's-blaze-orange bows, along with traditional Christmas
decorations.

And in Minnesota, Kanabec County Sheriff Steve Schulz confirmed that
Chai Soua Vang owns 40 acres of hunting property in Brook Park, Minn.,
near Hinckley. He said sheriff's officials went to the cabin Wednesday
to investigate at the request of Wisconsin authorities but found
nothing.

He added that Chai Soua Vang had not been cited for trespassing or any
other violations in the county. KSTP-TV said he purchased it in
October 2003.

In central Wisconsin's Green Lake County, the sheriff's office
reported Wednesday that Chai Soua Vang and another man were ticketed
for trespassing in April 2002 while hunting there during the
wild-turkey season.

A report said that the two were spotted trespassing at Badger Mining
in Berlin, and an employee called the sheriff's office. The men, who
had a permit to hunt on adjacent land, pleaded guilty and got $244
citations, but a Web site for state court records indicates Chai Soua
Vang's citation wasn't paid.

This report includes information from the Associated Press.

HMONG SET UP RELIEF FUND

The Twin Cities Hmong community has established a relief fund for the
survivors Sunday's fatal shootings in northwestern Wisconsin and the
families of the victims.

The Hmong 18 Council, in partnership with several Hmong community
leaders and organizations, set up the fund to show the community's
solidarity and sympathy to the victims' families.

"As a community, our hearts go out to the families whose loved ones
were wounded or killed during this horrible tragedy," said Vue Chu, a
spokesman for the Hmong 18 Council, a St. Paul nonprofit comprised of
representatives from the 18 Hmong clans.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can send donations to the
Hmong Community Support Fund for Wisconsin Hunting Victims and
Survivors, University Bank, 200 W. University Ave., St. Paul, MN
55103.

IN RICE LAKE

The Rice Lake Hunters' Survivors and Victims Fund has also been
established locally. Contributions can be directed to Dairy State
Bank, 16 S. Main St., Rice Lake, WI 54868.

-schneider-
November 25th 04, 08:00 PM
John Hanson > wrote in message >...
> http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/special_packages/hunter_shooting/10267284.htm
>
> Wisconsin hunter shooting spree
>
> Investigators hit case hard
>
> Similarities to unsolved 2001 slaying noted
>
> BY KEVIN HARTER and PHILLIP PIÑA
>
> Pioneer Press
>
>
> HAYWARD, Wis. ? Investigators returned Wednesday to the scene of
> Sunday's deer hunter killings, hoping to sort out two versions of how
> six people died.
>
> The state attorney general's office took over the case, meanwhile,
> restricting information from the Sawyer County sheriff and getting one
> of the survivors to cancel a news conference.
>
> Charges were not expected to be filed in the case until Monday at the
> earliest.
>
> Sheriff Jim Meier said investigators interviewed survivors of the
> shootings again and also questioned other members of the hunting party
> who hadn't been interviewed previously. They were trying to sort out
> variations between the accounts of one wounded hunters and suspect
> Chai Soua Vang of St. Paul.
>
> Meier also said investigators returned to the shooting scene 90 miles
> northeast of the Twin Cities to look for more forensic evidence, but
> he wouldn't divulge the results of any of those efforts or of
> autopsies done on the victims.
>
> Security concerns have prompted court officials to hold Chai Soua
> Vang's court appearance next week in the Sawyer County Jail instead of
> the county courthouse.
>
> Meanwhile, authorities in nearby Clark County said they would like to
> question Chai Soua Vang to see if he knows anything about the unsolved
> shooting death of another deer hunter in 2001.
>
> A Clark County sheriff's deputy said last weekend's shootings had
> vague similarities to the death three years ago of Jim Southworth, 37,
> of Medford, Wis. Southworth's body was found on family land Nov. 24,
> 2001, a day after he had gone deer hunting by himself.
>
> "We're not considering Mr. Vang a suspect. We're considering him a
> possible witness," said Chief Deputy Jim Backus of the Clark County
> Sheriff's Department in Neillsville.]\

maybe southworth's business partner did him in. or his wife's
lover....

many murders you think were done by blacks or minorities were actually
done by white folks