Father Kunz murder still unsolved after 17 years

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Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2014 --- 4:57 p.m.

Those who lived in the area at the time will remember it well. Father Alfred Kunz was a well-known priest and his death shocked many. Now all these years later, investigators are still not giving up.

Seventeen years ago Tuesday, Father Alfred Kunz recorded his final radio broadcast. The next morning, March 4, 1998, Father Kunz was found dead, brutally murdered, inside St. Michael Catholic Church. The murder remains unsolved.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney tells us, "It's still a priority for this organization to resolve that homicide."

Mahoney says a number of detectives keep up to speed on the case and follow new leads that still occasionally come in. Matt Abbott, a Chicago-based writer specializing in Catholic issues, has written extensively on the case for more than 14 years. He spoke to us over the phone.

Abbott explains, "There have been various conspiracy theories that have been put forth."

Ranging from the involvement of a satanic cult, to the involvement of fellow clergy. Abbott believes the most plausible theory: "Souring, I guess, of a relationship between Father Kunz and one of his teachers."

The Dane County Sheriff's office has interviewed hundreds over the years, and although nearly two decades have passed, they aren't classifying the case as cold.

"It's not cold from the stand-point that it's put in a box and forgotten about. The case has an active, investigative team assigned to it," says Mahoney.

Both Mahoney and Abbott believe someone out there knows what happened to Father Kunz. Whether that person will ever come forth is another mystery.

Abbott adds, "You know, there are a lot of unanswered questions and I frankly, I don't know that they ever will be answered."

Mahoney says, "I'm confident that in the end we'll solve this case."

Again, Mahoney tells us tips do still come in on this case. If you have any information, you're encouraged to call it in to the Sheriff's Office tip-line at 284-6900.