Arrest Made in 43-Year-Old Sturgeon Bay Cold Case

Local News
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43 years after Carol Jean Pierce disappeared, an arrest has been made for her murder.


82 year-old Richard Pierce of Cheboygan, MI, is facing charges of first-degree murder and disinterment of dead.

Records state Carol Jean went missing on or around Friday, September 5, 1975. The couple were then residing at the Sunrise Shores Trailer Park in Sturgeon Bay. At the time, Richard Pierce was with U.S. Coast Guard aboard the U.S.C.G. Cutter “Mesquite.” The criminal complaint states the Mesquite had been deployed and returned to Sturgeon Bay on September 5, 1975. Crew members were able to leave the ship, which Pierce did. The complaint continues that when Pierce returned to the ship on September 8, he told several shipmates that Carol Jean had left him.


An acquaintance of Carol Jean, Betty Cefalu states that once she heard Pierce’s story that Carol Jean had left, she went to their Sturgeon Bay home. She told police she saw Carol Jean’s purse on the kitchen counter. Cefalu also states she saw other items belonging to Carol Jean including a large record collection, her cat, and make-up and cosmetic items.

According to the complaint, on October 14, 1975, after not having heard from her daughter since August, Carol Jean’s mother reported her missing to Sturgeon Bay Police.

Despite numerous efforts, Carol Jean’s body has never been found.

The Wisconsin Cold Case Review Board say they re-examined the case on September 21, 2018.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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