By Shereen Siewert
A 53-year-old man is being held on a $100,000 bond after his son and girlfriend were found dead within hours of one another in Wausau.
Roderick H. Schultz, of Wausau, appeared Monday for a probable cause hearing in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he is expected to face two counts of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with the deaths. Police say the first alleged victim, Schultz’s girlfriend, was found dead shortly after 7 a.m. on March 13 at a home on Lazy Branch Drive. A heroin overdose was immediately suspected. Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Barnett told a judge the woman was hospitalized just two weeks earlier for a near-fatal overdose in Superior and had previously undergone addiction treatment.
Hours later police were called again to a Wausau apartment for a second death, again a suspected fatal heroin overdose. This time, they found Schultz’s son in the 200 block of Lavinia Drive with a needle and cooker near his body. The age of Schultz’s son was not specified.
Schultz, traced through phone records, allegedly admitted his son had overdosed about five times previously but initially denied being at either victim’s house. His story allegedly changed several times. ADA Barnett said police found a fentanyl kit, a cooker and other paraphernalia next to Schultz’s bed and took him into custody.
Defense attorney Jessica Phillips called the prosecution’s case “extremely weak” and reminded Circuit Judge Greg Strasser that if cash bond is ordered during a probable cause hearing charges must be filed “forthwith.” But Strasser said he saw “enough there” to “raise eyebrows.”
“The fact that we have two deceased people means a potential long sentence,” Judge Strasser said, adding that a cash bond is warranted based on the strength of the allegations and the amount of time Schultz would spend in prison if he is convicted. But he did not allow the prosecution to spend a requested month investigating the case before filing charges, setting an initial appearance for April 5.
Of the $100,000 bond Judge Strasser ordered, $15,000 must be paid in cash for Schultz’s release while awaiting charges.
Wausau Pilot & Review is not yet releasing the names of the alleged victims in this case.