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Name released of Devil’s Lake State Park homicide victim

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 1:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Sauk Co. Sheriff’s Office released the name Friday of the 24-year-old homicide victim who was found at Devil’s Lake State Park earlier this week.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the victim, identified as John Craig Schmutzer, was found late Wednesday morning near the Grottos trail on the south side of the park, outside of Baraboo. An autopsy indicated he died as the result of a stabbing.

The investigation into his death remains ongoing and the suspect remains at large.

Sheriff Chip Meister explained that because it is still active many details will be kept confidential for the time being.

In its update Friday, the Sheriff’s Office listed several locations Schmutzer had visited in the days prior to his death in addition to Devils Lake State Park:

  • Hilldale shopping center in Madison, WI;
  • Wildcat Mountain State Park in Vernon County, WI;
  • the LaValle, WI area in Northwest Sauk County

On Wednesday, October 14th, 2020, at about 11:38 am, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of...

Posted by Sauk County Sheriff's Office on Friday, October 16, 2020

On Thursday, Meister asked any potential witnesses for help identifying the suspect. The Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone who was on the south side of the state park, near the south shore parking area, grottos trail, or railroad tracks between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and saw something suspicious or witnessed the attack to call Sauk Co. Crime Stoppers at 1-888-TIP-SAUK (1-888-847-7285).

Additionally, investigators learned there were people taking photos of the scenery in the park around that time. They are also asking anyone who took pictures around that time to call Crime Stoppers as well, so investigators can see if they may have inadvertently captured a shot of the suspect.

The Sauk Co. Sheriff's Office's map showing where the victim's body was discovered on Wednesday, October 15, 2020.
The Sauk Co. Sheriff's Office's map showing where the victim's body was discovered on Wednesday, October 15, 2020.(Sauk Co. Sheriff's Office)

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