By Shereen Siewert
Court documents suggest money was the motive behind the 2006 murder of a western Marathon County man who was shot to death inside his home, a case that remained unsolved for more than 13 years.
Now, his wife is facing life in prison, accused of firing the two shots that took his life.
Cindy Schulz-Juedes, 65, of Chippewa Falls, was formally charged Friday, Dec. 13 with first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the death of her late husband, Kenneth E. Juedes, 58, of Unity.
Investigators say they never gave up on the case, pursuing dozens of leads over the years that culminated in a Nov. 27, 2019 arrest.
Schulz-Juedes first appeared Dec. 2 in Marathon County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing, where she was ordered held on a $1 million cash bond. She has been jailed ever since.
Police first responded at about 8:23 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2006, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department responded to H3752 Maple Road, in the Marathon County town of Hull, for a report of a man who was deceased. He was later identified as Juedes, who worked as a pharmacist at Memorial Health Center in Medford.
Autopsy results showed Juedes died of two gunshot wounds to the chest, police said, though the murder weapon has never been recovered. Police say Juedes was killed with a 20-gauge shotgun, the same type of weapon Schulz-Juedes’ former husband gave her when they were married. Schulz-Juedes told police the shotgun was stolen, but had never reported it missing.
Officers arriving on scene noted that Schulz-Juedes was wearing a white robe without any visible blood on it from attempting first aid on her husband. She appeared clean and well-groomed and seemed “lethargic” to police, court documents state.
Schulz-Juedes told police she first tried to use land line phone to call for help after entering the home and discovering her husband dead, but the phone didn’t work. She said she only heard a “screaming” sound from the phone that indicated the phone was out of service. But police later verified that such Schulz-Juedes wouldn’t have heard such a noise if the phone was out of order or off the hook.
Investigators say Schulz-Juedes was most likely standing on the same side of the bed as her husband, shooting him first in the back, then firing a second shot to the chest after he rolled over. In addition, the suspect described to police a “dream” about dogs barking, her husband looking at her and spitting up blood, and hearing two loud booms, a scenario police say is consistent with actual observations of the scene. A witness living in the neighborhood also told police his dogs normally do not bark at night were barking that evening around the time investigators believe Juedes was killed.
The criminal complaint also details a long body pillow on the opposite side of the bed from Juedes’ body. The body pillow had a kitchen knife stabbed into the pillow and through a note that had the word “bitch” written on it. DNA analysis on the note excluded other potential suspects as the source of the discovered DNA, but Schulz-Juedes could not be included or excluded as its source, court documents state.
Police also point to inconsistencies in Schulz-Juedes’ statements about spending the night in a small camper outside the couple’s home. During the investigation, Schulz-Juedes told police she left the home that night to sleep in a trailer adjacent to the home because of a headache, returned to the home at about 8:20 a.m. and found her husband dead inside. But police say that scenario is unlikely, given Schulz-Juedes’ known dislike of the camper and weather reports that indicate the camper would have been extremely warm and uncomfortable that evening.
Soon after Juedes’ death, investigators discovered insurance policies topping $950,000 and a will that named Schulz-Juedes as the sole beneficiary of Juedes’ estate, which included roughly 80 acres of property in the town of Norrie that had been in Juedes’ family for decades. That land was placed on the market 20 days after Juedes’ death, despite his mother’s plea to Schulz-Juedes to return the land to the family, according to court documents.
The property was sold for $200,000.
Further, the will itself is in question, as the attorney who allegedly prepared the will said the will was not a format his office used, and a witness who allegedly signed the will later told police he was not present when the will was signed.
Hannah McFarland, a private handwriting and document examiner, determined that Juedes’ signature on the will is probably not genuine, according to court documents.
Investigators also point to issues with Schulz-Juedes’ statements regarding her husband’s alcohol use the night of his death. She told police Juedes had about two beers, but toxicology reports show his blood alcohol concentration at between 0.192 percent and 0.247 percent at the time of his death, a discrepancy Schulz-Juedes has never explained.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2007 that centered around a $300,000 insurance payout to Schulz-Juedes, which was contested by Juedes’ four children, was resolved in August 2010 before it went to trial. Investigators hoped that the case, had it gone to a jury, would have revealed additional details helpful to their case.
The four children split $212,500 of the $300,000 and Schulz-Juedes received the rest, according to the settlement terms. She was also the beneficiary of an additional estimated $700,000 in a variety of life insurance benefits, according to police records.
Over the years the case was complicated by new theories and claims, including a so-called “confession” from a man who claimed he drove the getaway car when Butch Patrick, a Hollywood actor who portrayed Eddie Munster in the TV series “The Munsters,” shot Juedes. That story was published in May 2013 by The National Enquirer, though the publication removed the story weeks later. Local police followed up on the confession but quickly ruled Patrick out as a suspect. Patrick knew Juedes because he regularly visited Monster Hall Raceway and Campground in Unity, where Juedes was part-owner.
During an initial appearance Friday, Dec. 13, Circuit Judge Mike Moran continued Schulz-Juedes’ $1 million cash bond and ordered her to surrender her passport.
A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 20.
First degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison upon conviction.