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Double Jeopardy: Calumet Co. D.A. explores charges as Starkie Swenson’s remains identified

Local News

CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – The active search for Neenah Resident Starkie Swenson officially came to an end Wednesday, after the Calumet County Sheriffs Office confirmed remains found in September along a trail at High Cliff State Park, are positively identified as Swenson.

“My office did receive the reports from the Calumet County Sheriffs Office as well as reports from the Winnebago County area and the Neenah Police Department related to this entire investigation that has really continued over almost 40 years now,” explained Nathan Haberman, District Attorney of Calumet County.

Swenson was first reported missing in October of 1983, and ten years later John Andrews of Neenah was arrested. Andrews was charged with first-degree murder of Swenson, who was legally declared dead. He accepted a plea deal of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle and was sentenced to two years.

Because Andrews was convicted of the homicide charge, the D.A. cannot add additional homicide charges now that Swenson’s remains have been identified. “The ability to charge someone for the murder of Starkie Swenson is gone. Mr. Andrews was charged and prosecuted,” said Haberman. The legal term for this is Double Jeopardy.

Haberman says a full review of all legal avenues will be taken. “Whether other charges are still viable or not is a question that has a lot of complicated and unique legal issues,” added Haberman.

Jordan Karsten is an associate professor of Anthropology at UW-Oshkosh. He is often contacted by Law Enforcement when remains are found. “They usually contact me if they have any concern that some bone that has been found or turned in is human or not,” said Karsten.

Karsten, along with students, assisted in the excavating process of the search for remains. “We were surveying, excavating, and sifting through dirt in an attempt to locate Starkie Swenson’s remains,” said Karsten.

The remains were ultimately found by two hikers in September of this year. D.N.A. testing confirmed Swenson’s identity.

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