Skip to comments.‘Pure evil’ serial killer Spanbauer dead at 61
Posted on 07/31/2002 9:49:17 PM PDT by petuniasevan
Posted July 30, 2002
Pure evil serial killer Spanbauer dead at 61
Crime spree terrorized Valley in 90s
By Dan Wilson
and Ed Culhane
Post-Crescent staff writers
David Spanbauer the serial rapist who abducted and murdered two young girls and then killed a young Appleton woman during a botched burglary died in prison Monday at the age of 61.
Spanbauer called pure evil at his sentencing by Outagamie County Circuit Judge James Bayorgeon never expressed remorse for his crimes. He was sentenced eight years ago to three life terms in prison without parole plus 403 years.
A lifelong burglar and thief from Oshkosh, Spanbauer spent most of his adult life in prison. However, during his short periods of freedom, he wreaked havoc and in 1992 and 1994, he terrorized northeast Wisconsin.
He murdered 10-year-old Ronelle Eichstedt of Ripon in 1992, and 12-year-old Cora Jones of Waupaca two years later. In each case, he grabbed the girls while they were riding bikes, molested them and dumped their bodies in remote areas.
Breaking into an Appleton house he thought was unoccupied in July 1994, he found Trudi Jeschke, 21, in a bedroom. She was housesitting. He shot her to death.
Dodge County Coroner John Burgbacher said Spanbauer, 61, was pronounced dead at 4:25 p.m. Monday at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun apparently from heart disease or liver cancer. An autopsy will be performed.
Spanbauer had been in failing health for the past two years.
At least my tax money is no longer going to keep him alive, said Rick Jones, of rural Waupaca, the father of David Spanbauers last victim.
I always look at my check stub at my taxes and I always knew that I was paying for health care for the guy who killed my daughter, he said Monday. There will be a party tonight.
Appleton attorney Thomas Zoesch represented Spanbauer and remained his unofficial counsel over the years.
Zoesch said his most recent communications with Spanbauer centered around negotiating an interview with The Post-Crescent.
I think he wanted to cleanse his soul, said Zoesch. I really think he wanted to bare his soul, but there was a monetary motivation as well.
Spanbauers conditions for an interview included cash payment as well as conducting the interview outside the prison.
The Post-Crescent does not pay for interviews.
Spanbauers last letter to Zoesch was dated July 19.
I want to know if they (The Post-Crescent) are going to do it or not, wrote Spanbauer.
He said in the letter that things are getting tight, and that he was down to $100 in his canteen fund.
Zoesch also said Spanbauer had left instructions with the infirmary staff not to resuscitate him in the event of a medical emergency.
Apparently, those orders were carried out.
Spanbauer, to the best of Zoeschs knowledge, did not leave any letters of confession or contrition and Zoesch maintains Spanbauer has accounted for all of his crimes.
There would have been no reason for him to withhold confessing to another crime.
Detective Dan Woodkey of the Appleton Police Department said today Spanbauer was a manipulator, always seeking to get some benefit from his interrogators.
Hed request things wed never give him, Woodkey said. Id never give him a moments satisfaction.
Once, when Woodkey and investigator Randy Cook were transporting Spanbauer from a Minnesota prison, there was news on the radio of a break-in in which a young girl was murdered.
He was in the back seat talking about how terrible it was, and the whole time he never expressed any remorse for killing those three young ladies, Woodkey said. We couldnt believe what we were hearing.
Outagamie County Dist. Atty. Vince Biskupic prosecuted Spanbauer in December 1994 for crimes committed in five counties, including the three murders.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone in the state of Wisconsin who would be shedding a tear over his death, Biskupic said.
Jeschkes murder came just days after an Illinois woman foiled an attempted abduction by Spanbauer near Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca County while she was on a bike.
Spanbauers criminal career began when he was a juvenile, but his serious offenses started shortly after his dishonorable discharge from the Navy in 1959 and included the rape of a 16-year-old girl and the shooting of her uncle.
It was the abductions and murders of Eichstedt and Jones, though, that shocked northeastern Wisconsin communities and launched one of the areas most intensive police investigations.
The investigation into the Eichstedt abduction and murder had gone cold at the time 12-year-old Cora Jones bike was found lying in the middle of Sanders Road in the Waupaca County Town of Dayton on Labor Day 1994.
A massive search began the next day that involved hundreds of volunteers combing an area within a 10-mile radius of the missing girls bike.
The search for Jones garnered national attention after the FBI joined in the case, and a rural Waupaca church was quickly turned into a search center. Jones body was found five days later in Langlade County.
The investigation continued while a series of seemingly unconnected crimes were going on in the Appleton area, including two home-invasion sexual assaults in Appleton in which a 15-year-old girl and a 31-year-old woman were victimized.
On Nov. 14, 1994, a Combined Locks man saw a man trying to break into his house. He chased the man down and tackled him. The suspect, Spanbauer, was booked into jail on burglary charges and quickly became a suspect in the murders.
Four days later, Spanbauer confessed to the murders of Jones, Eichstedt and Jeschke, as well as to the sexual assaults and assorted burglaries. He also confessed to the attempted abduction of the woman near Hartman Creek State Park.
Spanbauer ultimately entered guilty pleas to 18 felonies from five counties Dec. 8. Bayorgeon sentenced Spanbauer Dec. 20, 1994.
Vicki Jones, Coras mother, said his death brings her peace.
It is kind of a relief. It is a weight off of our shoulders, she said. We have been waiting eight years, and we know how bad death is. But after what he did to Cora he didnt deserve to live.
Woodkey called Linda Jeschke, the mother of Trudi, within minute of learning of Spanbauers death. She said, The case is finally over.
Larry Shadick, chief deputy for the Langlade County Sheriffs Department, remembered the fear that ran through the area after Jones body was found Sept. 10 in the ditch alongside a rural town road. Ultimately, it was an officer with his department who heard Spanbauers confession.
In our little department and in our community, nobody could sleep until he was found, said Shadick. Our citizens were so frightened. In a small community they expect a lot out of law enforcement and they expect every crime to be solved.
The murder investigation was conducted by a task force made up of investigators from the Waupaca County Sheriffs Department, the Langlade County Sheriffs Department, the FBI and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
A reward fund approached $150,000.
Dan Wilson can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 304, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nineteen-year-old David F. Spanbauer breaks into a Green Bay residence rapes a 16-year-old babysitter and shoots the babysitters uncle, who survives his wound. Spanbauer is sentenced in Brown County to 70 years in prison for that offense and a burglary and rape from Outagamie County, a Winnebago County burglary and a Milwaukee County armed burglary, all of which occurred in January and February 1960. He is released in 1972.
Aug. 16: Spanbauer is arrested in Dane County for abduction and rape of a hitchhiker. In May 1973, Spanbauer is sentenced to a revocation of his parole, thereby sending him back to prison on his original charge. He also receives a new sentence of 18 years in prison on the new charges, but the judge allows the sentence to be served concurrent to his Brown County sentence. He is released in 1991.
Aug. 23: 10-year-old Ronelle Eichstedt disappears while riding her bicycle in rural Fond du Lac County.
Sept. 30: Eichstedt's body is discovered in a farm field in Iowa County in southwestern Wisconsin.
July 3: A 24-year-old Illinois woman is the target of an attempted abduction by Spanbauer near Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca County. That same day, Spanbauer burglarizes an Appleton residence.
July 9: 21-year-old Trudi Jeschke is shot to death in a northside Appleton home after apparently surprising a burglar.
Sept. 5: 12-year-old Cora Jones disappears in Waupaca County.
Sept. 10: Two hunters discover Jones' body in Langlade County.
Oct. 13: Spanbauer burglarizes an Appleton residence.
Oct. 20: A 15-year-old girl is sexually assaulted in her Appleton home.
Nov. 5: A 31-year-old woman is sexually assaulted in her Appleton home.
Nov. 14: Spanbauer is arrested in Combined Locks after attempting to break into a residence. Spanbauer was tackled by homeowner Gerald Argall after fleeing on foot from behind his house.
Nov. 15: Spanbauer confesses to the attempted abduction near Hartman Creek.
Nov. 18: Spanbauer confesses to the Eichstedt, Jeschke and Jones murders and the sexual assaults in Appleton.
Dec. 20: Spanbauer is sentenced to three consecutive life terms plus 403 years.
The bleeding-heart judges who kept releasing this monster should be charged with accessory to rape and murder.
NO ONE will claim the body, according to today's Post-Crescent. There will be no funeral, according to prison officials. They intend to bury the monster, though. I say they should leave the slimy body out to rot in a courtyard and charge admission to view it. Proceeds to go to the families of the murdered girls.
12 = 70. Unbelievable.
We have a similar case now of a missing woman. The man who they believe killed her has been caught, but they haven't found the body yet. He, too, had just been released from prison. Wisconsin needs the death penalty. That's the only way to stop this madness of releasing dangerous criminals back into our communities!
12 = 70. Unbelievable
While I was reading I did the math, too. I found the same weird mathematical anomaly... 12=72... interesting.
You obviously are not a product of our modern Public School system, nor are you versed in the "new math", and there may be some self-esteem issues here too.
He terrrorized this area during his crime spree. Amazingly, his parole officer reported that Spanbauer was making progress, had a good job, blah blah blah, and did so a few days after this personification of evil had killed one of the girls.
I hesitate to say this because this is such a horror of a story but I can't help myself. LOL!
Was the homeowner charged with assault for this heinous attack?
So they didn't remove the pillow that had smashed down over his face.
Judges are nothing more than trial lawyers in batsuits. The whole profession has a stake in keeping the justice system a revolving door of early release, sentence commutation and parole so there will always be work for their colleagues. The fact that this industry is built and sustained on the suffering and senseless deaths of thousands of innocents is of no concern to any of them.
Ronelle Eichstedt; + 23 August 1992 +
Cora Jones; + 05 September 1994 +
I found the retracting of rewards by those who promised shameful. Since the person who caught him didn’t know what a creep he was they didn’t want pay. Who cares? The guy stopped a serial murderer. The knowledge and circumstance should almost be irrelevant. The man received a much smaller reward. I also believe they didn’t release the police sketch until after he was caught. It was rather accurate. I wondered if I would have recognized him. I had picked up a summer job at 7-up Bottling where he worked as a mechanic and I borrowed his paint scraper a few times. He was treated pretty rough by the other guys at the plant and I always wondered why but they knew what a dirtbag he was before he was pinned with the new crimes.