Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Spanbauer, Serial Child Killer and Rapist

Hunting Season

In so many crime stories of the real and unreal, hunters are often the first to find the body.  They are the ones the rural police call to help with searches for lost hikers and missing people.  Sometimes their dogs are the first to find the lost person.  The hunters stalk through the woods with eyes open, looking for tracks and minute signs of not just their quarry but for any disturbance of the woods.  Rarely do they come across the horrifying. Mostly they have a peaceful day in the fields and forests.  Usually in order to access the woodlands, they are forced to park their trucks along the ditches of wooded back roads.

Two hunters found the body of a 12-year-old girl in a ditch along a country road. It was September 10, 1994, near the small village of Kempster, an area known as the "Gateway to Wisconsin's Northwoods." There were no clothes on her body and her hands were bound behind her back with ripped shreds of a pink t-shirt.  She had been beaten, raped, strangled and stabbed in the abdominal area and chest.  She had been there for five days. The hunter-killer left one clue, a small speck of evidence that would later be used against him.  It was a carpet fiber found on the girl's body. 

Kempster, Wisconsin
Kempster, Wisconsin

Chief Deputy Larry Shadick of the Langlade County Sheriff Department likened it to hunting.  He said of the killer, "He just was hunting. Like when you go hunting, he found himself a victim."


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