CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – A crime of passion? A Chilton man faces a charge relating to the disappearance and death of a Neenah man who was having an alleged affair with his then-wife.
John Andrews, 82, is facing one count of hiding a corpse stemming from the death of Starkie Swenson.
Starkie Swenson was first reported missing on August 13, 1983, by his daughter after he failed to come home from one of his bike rides.
According to a complaint, on that day, Swenson allegedly rode his bike past the house of a woman he was having an alleged affair with. This woman was reportedly the ex-wife of John Andrews.
In the complaint, it states that Andrews was aware of the alleged affair between his then-wife and Swenson, which reportedly didn’t sit well with him.
“John was irrational, screaming at her and continuing to accuse W2 and Starkie of having a love affair,” stated the complaint.
On the day of Swenson’s disappearance, Andrews and his ex-wife were reportedly together at her Neenah home around the same time that Swenson rode his bike by the house.
Andrews reportedly left the house shortly after.
In an interview, the ex-wife confessed to police that Andrews had made an eerie remark about Swenson after he was reported missing.
Andrews allegedly told his ex-wife that ‘somebody could have run Starkie down in a car while he was on a bicycle, like a young kid, who then might have panicked, put the body in the car and driven it into the woods somewhere.’
In an interview with a second witness, who claimed to be a friend of Andrews, the witness told police that at the time of Swenson’s disappearance she heard an altercation happening between two men behind Shattuck Junior High School, located across the street from Andrew’s ex-wife’s house.
According to the witness, during the altercation, she heard two loud thumps and a man’s voice say
“No John don’t…I’ll stay away for her.” The witness continued to say that she heard what sounded like a scream followed by a second man’s voice stating “How did you like that.”
The witness said she then saw Andrews’ car parked in the driveway of the school with his trunk open.
The witness left the scene quickly after in fear Andrews might have seen her.
The following day, on April 14, 1983, the witness said Andrews stopped by her home and had blood under his fingernails and on the side of his fingers.
The witness alleged that while at her home, Andrews made death threats toward her and her family if she told police anything about what she had seen.
Police continued conducting interviews and taking tips in search of Swenson. However, Swenson’s body was never recovered. Eventually, the Circuit Court legally declared Swenson dead as of August 13, 1983.
Shortly after, in 1994, John Andrews was charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for the death of Starkie Swenson. A jury trial was held where Andrews entered a guilty “Alford” plea to an amended charge of Homicide by Negligent Use of a Motor Vehicle, he was convicted and sentenced.
Now, 38 years later, police have finally had a break in the cold case.
In September of 2021, a pair of hikers located human remains, later identified as belonging to that of Starkie Swenson, at High Cliff State Park.
An anthropological analysisrauma analysis of the remains indicated Swenson had suffered a series of fractures to his body consistent with injuries that one would suffer if involved in a vehicle vs pedestrian incident.
In the end, a Fond du Lac Medical Examiner later concluded the cause of death was determined to be multiple injuries.
Officials have also been able to determine that the body was intentionally covered, or “buried,” with limestone rocks in an attempt to conceal the body.
Andrews is now being charged with one count of hiding a corpse relating to this cover-up. If convicted of this crime he may be fined up to $25,000, or sentenced to a prison term of not more than 12 years and 6 months, or both.
Andrews appeared in court on Friday where he was given a $10,000 signature bond. Andrews is due back in court on May 6.