Update: Wis. DOJ closes investigation of Seymour incident, reveals more information

Local News
FRIDAY 10/25/19

MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice states they have closed their investigation of an incident in Seymour that left two young girls and a man dead – and an anonymous woman demanding change.

As previously reported by Local 5, a search warrant was executed at a home in Seymour by Seymour Police regarding a reported 2nd Degree Sexual Assault on Friday, April 19.

The investigation reportedly began the day before when a domestic violence call was made to the home. An unidentified woman told police that her partner, 35-year old Andrew Poppe, became angry before taking her phone away from her as they were both laying in bed.

Poppe then “held her against her will, assaulted her in their residence…, and she had to flee the residence to report the incident.”

After obtaining a search warrant, police reportedly “attempted to make contact with Poppe at the residence several times, with no answer at the door or over the phone.”

Once authorities entered the home, Poppe was found deceased with “apparent knife injuries.” Officials say 4-year-Metteline Samson and 2- and 1/2-month-old Hailey Poppe were also deceased upon entry.

Poppe’s partner, the unidentified woman, told officials they began dating in 2017 and were engaged in 2018. She added “that [Poppe] had been ‘kind of controlling’ when they first started dating,” but that she “did not feel threatened by him. [He] was controlling in a manner of the type of clothing [she] would wear.”

She went on to describe how Poppe’s “behavior started to change” after Hailey was born, saying “she kept a diary of the abuse caused by” Poppe.

The woman also explained what happened the night of the domestic violence after she left her home to report the incident.

According to the DOJ investigation, the woman said she told Seymour Police that Poppe “would be getting suspicious because she had not come home.” She also told investigators that Seymour Police had tried to contact him, but were unable to reach him.

During her initial discussion with Seymour Police, they say they had the woman “park her car in the garage so [Poppe] did not see it if he was driving around” looking for her.

The officer speaking with the woman contact other authorities, including their “on call supervisor,” and “completed an Outagamie County Jail Booking sheet for [Poppe] to be charged with Domestic Disorderly Conduct,…False Imprisonment, Strangulation and Suffocation, and Intimidate a victim.”

Seymour Police then attempted to make “contact at the residence.” Responding officers say “There was no answer at the door and no movement was spotted inside the residence by officers that took position around the house to watch for the suspect.”

After officials were unable to contact, “dispatch was advised…and to release the channel restriction.”

Officers then asked the woman to “draw a floor plan layout” of the residence because “the kids were there and [Poppe] made comments about harming them,” adding police “wanted to do everything [they] could.”

In the DOJ investigation, an officer told the woman “we were working on getting more officers to assist on the call.” The woman then asked the officers “to please hurry.”

The woman “said that she asked the officer a ‘100 times’ about going to the house and the officer told her that they were ‘formulating a plan.'”

In the early hours of Friday, Seymour Police decided they “would not force entry to the residence by [themselves] as if [they] did gain entry it would be noticeably loud as force would need to be used, and at that point [they] may upset [Poppe] and he might act on his threats to harm the kids.”

The report goes on to say that “two officers [remained] in the area to monitor movement at the residence” and that if officers “gathered information that there was imminent threats of harm [they would at that point force entry.”

The document goes on to show Seymour Police did not enter the home until “nine or 10 hours later.”

The DOJ investigation shows Seymour Police report the unidentified woman contacted them just before 11:20 p.m. Thursday night regarding the assault. Then, “shortly before 6:00 AM, tactical team members [with The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Response Team] began” advising neighbors near the home to “shelter-in-place.”

Two hours later, “the tactical team forced entry into the home” where they found the deceased victims.

The remainder of the DOJ’s report shows some of Poppe’s family members saying he “had turned his life around and was focusing on being a family man” while others say they “could describe him in one word…’angry.'”

Poppe had reportedly “expressed to his parents that he was under a lot of stress.”

Legal Action of Wisconsin, a non-profit law firm, has released a statement on behalf of a woman that says Seymour Police mishandled her case earlier this year. Read the full statement below.

Wis. DOJ closes investigation of Seymour incident, releases redacted report

FRIDAY 10/25/19 4:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice has responded to an anonymous woman who claims Seymour Police made “breaches of privacy” in her case earlier this year.

The case has been closed, according to the DOJ, and “certain information was redacted from the records.”

In addition to a report of the redactions, the DOJ sent Local 5 their full, 228-page report on the investigation of this incident that left two young girls dead as well as a Seymour man.

Read our previous coverage of the incident here. Local 5 will provide more information regarding the DOJ report.

Anonymous woman ‘demands change’ after Seymour Police make ‘critical errors’

FRIDAY 10/25/19 2:30 p.m.

SEYMOUR, Wis. (WFRV) — Legal Action of Wisconsin, a non-profit law firm, has released a statement on behalf of a woman that says Seymour Police mishandled her case earlier this year.

According to the law firm, the woman, who remains anonymous, “was violently attacked, raped, and strangled by her partner while he made verbal death threats to kill her if she reported him to the police. Less than 12 hours later, he killed two of her children (one 4 years, the other 3 months) and himself.”

READ: UPDATE: Children died of homicide, man died of self-inflicted wound

Read the full statement here:

Legal Action of Wisconsin is releasing this statement on behalf of an anonymous client of our Crime Victims’ Rights Project. This project provides free legal representation to victims of crime who want help protecting their privacy and enforcing their rights in criminal cases. Crime victims should not have to choose between their privacy and their voice. Therefore, we are releasing our client’s views regarding her victimization on her behalf.

Earlier this year, our client was violently attacked, raped, and strangled by her partner while he made verbal death threats to kill her if she reported him to the police. Less than 12 hours later, he killed two of her children (one 4 years, the other 3 months) and himself. Our client demands changes to Seymour Police Department policies and practices, so others do not have to go through what she has.

After being violently assaulted, our client escaped and contacted police in the late evening to report the attack and the death threats. She begged them to take action to protect her children, who were still in the home. Police tried to contact the perpetrator, by phone and in person, but made no effort to enter the home. It was not until 8am the following day that law enforcement finally entered the home where the two children and perpetrator were found dead. The medical examiner estimates time of death for all three was between 3-4am.

Our client believes that critical errors were made by police, leading to the murder of her two children. The Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) is a questionnaire that can be used by law enforcement immediately following a domestic violence incident to assess a victim’s imminent risk of being killed by the perpetrator. Seymour Police Department is trained in the LAP. Unfortunately, our client’s LAP was conducted hours after she was attacked, and only after an officer was prompted by the nurse working with our client. Despite her answers resulting in a high-risk assessment, police did not try to enter the home until it was too late.  While trying to cope with this immense tragedy, our client discovered that police failed to seal certain reports resulting in the publication of private information, including the location of her residence, her name, and details of the crimes. Such breaches of privacy negatively impact crime victims, making the general public privy to the most painful moments of their lives.  Breaches of privacy can also compromise the safety of survivors and center attention on rumors and speculation, rather than the survivor’s experience.

Our client believes her initial report was mishandled by Seymour Police Department. She believes that best practices were either ignored or were inadequate. She demands that the department review their practices and receive training in the areas of victim’s rights, domestic violence, and empathy. “Had they handled the situation better, this outcome could have been prevented”, our client declares.

Out of respect for the victim’s privacy rights and concern for her surviving children, Legal Action asks that the press not release or rerelease personally identifying information about the victim, her family, or details of the crimes. By protecting privacy, the media can play a critical role in defending victim’s rights and preventing the trauma of re-victimization.

Local 5 reached out to Seymour Police, but they refused to comment and directed us to contact Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Local 5 then reached out to Wisconsin DOJ, but have yet to hear back.

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