Amber Wilde Coldcase Re-opened As Murder Investigation
The degree of incompetence in the Wisconsin Law Enforcement community couldn't possibly get any worse - police had access to her personal diary, phone records, knowledge of a pregnancy which the "father" wanted terminated, among other things, which painted a pretty clear picture of who her killer was.
Interesting, as it coincides with the preparation of court documents for the exoneration of Steven Avery. Did Kathleen Zellner stumble across incriminating evidence during her research for the Avery case?
GREEN BAY — Court documents recently unsealed show that authorities are investigating the 1998 disappearance of a University of Wisconsin, Green Bay student as a murder.
The documents, obtained by WBAY-TV and the Green Bay Press-Gazette, also name a potential person of interest in the disappearance of Amber Wilde and a possible motive.
Wilde was 19 and pregnant at the time of her disappearance. According to court documents, the father of her child was upset and wanted Wilde to have an abortion, but she refused.
The Associated Press is not naming the man because he has not been charged. The documents include a subpoena and affidavit for his cell phone records. The documents also classify the case as a first degree intentional homicide investigation. The case had previously been considered a missing person.
Re: Amber Wilde Coldcase Re-opened As Murder Investigation
Green Bay police say Amber Wilde, a college student missing since 1998, was murdered — and for the first time, they've identified a suspect and a potential motive.
A recently unsealed court filing says Wilde, then 19, became pregnant during an encounter with a man she met at a party in May 1998.
Citing entries Wilde made in a diary, the documents indicate that she was being pressured to have an abortion by Matthew Schneider, but refused.
Law-enforcement officials in May 2015 sought the cell phone records of Schneider, now 38, who police said was then working a road-construction job in the Shawano area. In a seven-page court filing seeking authorization to obtain the records, Green Bay Detective David Graf wrote that he believed the records "constitute evidence of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide."
It is also the first time that police have said they have a suspect.
"It's pretty safe to infer from what's in the warrant that he is a suspect," Detective Lee Kingston, who is working the case with Graf, said Friday. He said Schneider now lives in West Bend.
Related: Cold cases stir up raw emotions for victims' families
Investigation: Cold Cases in Wisconsin
PDF: Read the court filing
Investigators previously indicated they believed Wilde likely was the victim of foul play. Previously, authorities had said they had a person of interest, but did not publicly name him.
Here's what police believe happened, according to the court filing. It relies extensively on entries in Wilde's diary:
» Wilde and Schneider met at a party in May 1998, went back to her apartment on Green Bay's east side and had consensual sex.
» Schneider's parents learned of the pregnancy. Wilde wrote that he then made several attempts to meet with her.
» Schneider's fiancee learned of the pregnancy, apparently from Wilde.
» Wilde disappeared in late September. Her car was found several days later outside a bar in Ashwaubenon, just west of Lambeau Field.
» Police found a diary in which Wilde claimed that Schneider wanted her to end the pregnancy because he was engaged to be married. Wilde wrote that she refused.
» In an interview later with a Green Bay detectives, Schneider denied he and Wilde had sex but "showed no concern for Amber being missing."
» A friend of Schneider's later told police that he told her he "felt guilty" about having had sex with Wilde.
No charges have been filed, and authorities would not say if an arrest is imminent.The court filing also indicates other people may have knowledge of what happened to Wilde. But they are not considered suspects, investigators said.
Laurie Ehnert, Wilde's aunt and godmother, said Friday she is delighted that police confirmed they have a suspect, but is not surprised.
"I believed it from things Amber had told me," said Ehnert. "I had my suspicions about this from Day 1 after she went missing."
In an application to subpoena Schneider's phone records, Graf did not say how he believed Wilde was killed. Her credit card and bank account have not been used since September 1998, police have said.
The court filing says that police received five Excel spreadsheets and three PDF files containing records of telephone calls and text messages.
Police and Brown County District Attorney David Lasee wouldn't say if those records had bolstered their case, but they said the investigation continues to progress.
"This shows that the Green Bay police continue to do their jobs," Lasee said.
Wilde, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay student who attended high school in Campbellsport, in Fond du Lac County, disappeared in September 1998. She was last in contact with her father by telephone on Sept. 23 of that year, when she checked in to discuss a minor car accident she had shortly before her disappearance.
Authorities have never found a trace of the missing teen, despite having conducted multiple searches for her remains. Areas that were searched included a 30-acre site in rural Portage County in November 2014, and multiple searches in the Shawano area.
Wilde's baby was due in February 1999. Family members have said she hoped to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.
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