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Authorities release new details in search for Devil’s Lake killer

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:34 PM CST
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SAUK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Sauk County authorities believe 24-year-old John Schmutzer was stabbed to death by a stranger at Devil’s Lake State Park in October.

Schmutzer’s murder remains unsolved, almost a month after the brutal crime.

John Craig Schmutzer, 24
John Craig Schmutzer, 24(Sauk Co. Sheriff's Office)

Wednesday, deputies released new information and reiterated a call for help to the community to find the killer.

“We are confident there is someone out there who knows, or suspects they know, who this person is, and we await their call,” Sauk County Sheriff Chip Miester said.

Deputies believe the person responsible could be dangerous to himself and others and may act out impulsively without thinking about the consequences.

They believe the stabbing happened after a big life change; maybe in his relationship, job or at school. He also may have underlying mental health or addiction issues.

Authorities also said in the days after stabbing Schmutzer, this man may have increased his use of drugs and alcohol.

“He may have shown increased attention to the news surrounding this case,” Lt. Christopher Zunker of the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office said. “He may have changed his appearance, changed his vehicle, or left the area entirely without offering explanation.”

It’s possible he even cut himself while stabbing Schmutzer.

“People may have noticed blood on his clothing,” Lt. Zunker said. “It’s possible he saw treatment for his injuries. It’s likely if he were injured, he’d tell medical professionals, friends or family that he was the victim of a crime or a serious accident.”

If anyone has information about who or where this person may be, they’re asked to call Sauk County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-847-7285.

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