FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

CSI: Winnebago County, new science to solve old cases

Local News

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – It was the evening of June 13, 1963, when the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office received an emergency phone call from Wayne Pratt’s wife stating the 24-year-old had been murdered.

Pratt was found face down in the storage room of the Enco gas station that he managed, partially covered in a blanket and stabbed more than fifty times.

That case is one of four cold cases that members of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office are still investigating.

The department is using new science and DNA testing techniques to take a fresh look at all of their cold cases.

Pratt’s body was exhumed from Oak Hill Cemetery in 2015 and additional DNA gathered was sent in for analysis.

The results of that testing came back inconclusive.


DNA from the department’s most recent cold case, a John Doe found near a set of railroad tracks in the Town of Vinland, has been sent to Parabon Nanolabs in Virginia.

The lab has the technology to produce a computer-generated image of what the person may look like, along with other characteristics.

Winnebago County worked with the anthropology department at UW-Oshkosh on an archaeological dig at the sight of the remains to uncover additional DNA material that was then able to be sent into Parabon.

The county hopes that the growing popularity of things like personal DNA and genealogy testing will help them find a link to identifying the remains.


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