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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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  • 10/07/18--18:19: How Sweep It Is
  • DENVER, CO (WTAQ) - The Brewers advance to the National League Championship Series with a 6-0 win over Colorado, completing the series sweep and their 11th straight win.

    Jesus Aguilar, Orlando Arcia, and Keon Broxton all hit home runs in the game. 

    Corbin Burns earned the win in relief.

    Christian Yelich was the only starting position player not to log a hit, but was walked twice and did score a run.

    Catcher Erik Kratz was 3 for 4 with a run scored.

    The Brewers bullpen was busy in the contest after starter Wade Miley delivered 4.2 innings of 3-hit ball before turning the game over to Corey Knebel, who finished the 5th inning by striking out Colorado leadoff batter Charlie Blackmon.

    Brewers pitchers held the Rockies scoreless in 27 of 28 innings of the NLDS.

    Milwaukee will await the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves series and will host the winner Friday at Miller Park in Game 1 of the NLCS.

    Tickets for the series go on sale for Non-Season ticket holding Wisconsin residents on Tuesday.


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    MATTESON, WI (WTAQ) - A Clintonville man was injured after crashing his motorcycle Saturday evening in Waupaca County.

    Officials say the 36-year-old man was going south on County Highway Y, and lost control.

    At around 6:40 p.m., the Waupaca County Sheriff's Office was called to the area of County Highway Y near Behnke Road east of Clintonville 

    Sheriff officials found the man and his motorcycle laying in the ditch off the road. 

    The man was taken by ambulance and then airlifted to a hospital.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Better Business Bureau is warning Facebook users to be careful after a recent security breach.

    Over 500 million Facebook users were affected by hackers taking over their accounts.

    Susan Bach, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Northeast Wisconsin says the worry is imposters.

    "It is somebody that has created a fake or phony profile in order to get you to click on a link or download malware onto your computer."

    She says they also spend time attempting to get you to wire money.

    "They will say that they were traveling overseas and had their passport stolen or something. They will say they need money and will ask you to wire it to them.

    The hackers get access to information on your facebook account and use it to their advantage, even by creating a fake profile of someone you know.

    Answering their request online is not the safest idea.

    "I would instead go outside of Facebook and try to contact your friend that way.

     

     Bach says changing your password and signing out everytime you are done with Facebook will lessen the chances of being a victim

     

     

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Today kicks off a week dedicated to preventing fires in homes and businesses and local officials are stressing three easy tips.

    Look. Listen. Learn. It's three easy steps that can help you stay safe from a potential fire.

    "Look for places where a fire could start, listen for the sound of a smoke alarm, and learn two ways out of every room, " Lieutenant Shauna Walesh, with the Green Bay Metro Fire Department, explains the key message for this year's Fire Prevention Week.

    This week fire officials will be traveling to local schools to educate kids on the importance of fire safety. 

    Lieutenant Walesh encourages families to be mindful of potential fire starters in their home

    "Extension cords hooked into another extension cord," she says. "Making sure you're not leaving your burners on while your not in the kitchen."

    And as temperatures cool it's important to keep an eye open when you light your favorite fall candle.

    "Be really cautious if you have pets," explains Lieutenant Walesh. "Cats are not the most cautious of creatures."

    Before a fire happens, it's important for families to establish a fire meeting place.

    "Which is a safe place away from your home if there is a fire," she says. "We tell people your mailbox, maybe a tree, your neighbor's house, just somewhere outside the home."

    More information on fire safety and home escape planning can be found here.

     


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton police need your help investigating a pedestrian hit-and-run that happened on Friday night.

    Shortly after 9:30, officers responded to the intersection of East College Avenue and North Lawe Street, where a woman was hit by a car.

    A witness said the car then went east on College Avenue, before getting away.

    The woman, reported to be a Lawrence University student, was walking south in the crosswalk across College Avenue, before the car, an early 2000's model silver-or-gray Jaguar, which was going north on Lawe Street, turned to go east on College Avenue and hit her.

    The woman was taken to an area hospital and is being treated for her injuries.

    The Appleton Police Department posted pictures of the car on their Facebook page Saturday morning:

    Anyone with information about the incident is advised to call the Appleton Police Department at (920) 832-5500, or can use the "REPORT" feature on the APD phone app.


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    PESHTIGO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Today (October 8th) marks the 147th anniversary of the Great Peshtigo Fire.

    Artifacts at the Peshtigo Fire Museum give a chilling reminder of the devastating and undeniable history.

    One hundred forty-seven years later, Sally Kahl, the museum curator tells FOX 11 it’s still the largest and deadliest wildfire fire in US history.

    "The city of Peshtigo burned in one hour. In one hour it was gone."

    Every year on the anniversary of the fire, the Peshtigo Fire Museum closes for the season.

    "a city of 1,200 people. 800 died that night," said Kahl.

    It's fire that has been overshadowed by another blaze the same day.

    Chicago had a terrible fire too and they had loss of life, but 1200 people in an hour it just unfathomable.

    The reminders are burned into the city's tale.

    "I was born and raised here and to me, it was always special," said Kahl.

    Few things exist from before the fire, but inside the museum are stories of those who lived it.

    Coleman resident Bill Conrad tells FOX 11 he's fascinated by the history of his hometown.

    "I think it touches everybody, really. with the Peshtigo fire, nobody realized the devastation. I look back today at the fires that are happening in California and you have to think back at what happened here and what's happening over there and the equipment they have to fight it with now."

    "Those are actual photographs. It was taken three days after the fire," said Kahl.

    She says people from near and far made the trip to the Peshtigo Fire Museum this weekend.

    "One couple made a quilt to honor the fire which is going to be on display at City hall."

    Today, residents and visitors will gather at Peshtigo's city hall to honor those who died and those survived.

    The ceremony is at Peshtigo City Hall, 331 French St. It begins at 1:pm

    The event is called "A time to remember."


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - You've probably noticed leaves changing colors this time of year, but if you drive along Birch Tree Lane in Fond du Lac, you’ll see a few trees wrapped in foil.

    "The foil is basically insulation and underneath that foil is a sap flow sensor it's essentially, it injects a pulse of heat and then it has two temperature sensors above and below that," said Bill Selbig, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

    He tells FOX 11 those sensors track how much water the tree's absorbing.

    The focus of this urban tree study is to observe the quality of stormwater along with how much of that water trees collect and keep out of storm drains.

    "The best way to do that is to measure or characterize an area with the trees and then follow it up without the trees," Selbig said.

    Jordan Skiff, Fond du Lac Public Works director, tells FOX 11 they plan to remove the trees because of encroaching Emerald Ash Borer.

    "We've actually treated those ash trees for this year just to make sure they'd have a leaf canopy for this year and next year but they would be dying relatively soon without that treatment."

    On Birch Tree Lane, the measuring process for the foiled trees is powered by a battery that has to be replaced on a weekly basis.

    Selbig says a separate study in this neighborhood will focus on leaves from the trees.

    "Leaves are falling and they’re in the gutters and when a storm moves through, water percolates through those leaves and removes phosphorous and that phosphorous makes its way into some receiving water body".

    Whether it's leaves or something else, Selbig says when too much phosphorous makes its way into lakes and streams it can cause algae blooms.

    "One-way cities can address this is through leaf collection but what nobody knows is does leaf collection do any good to remove phosphorous from stormwater."

    As for the urban tree study, it will continue over the next two years.

    Fond du Lac plans to eventually replace the trees.


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  • 10/08/18--10:01: Intruder Call A False Alarm
  • KIMBERLY, WI (WTAQ) - A report of an intruder at a Kimberly school has turned out to be a false alarm.

    Officers were called to Mapleview Intermediate School around 9:00 this morning.

    Superintendent Robert Mayfield says they still will be spending today working with parents and students.

    Students and staff responded to the report seriously and evacuated the school.

    Parents who wish to bring their child home for the day are being allowed to do so.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A new initiative in the proposed Brown County 2019 budget is aimed at creating a division to become smarter on crime.

    Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach spoke on Monday at the Brown County Courthouse about his planned initiative to create a Division of Criminal Justice within the Health and Human Services Department.

    "We are taking resources that have already been applied and we're trying to find a better return on investment when we're looking at it from just a financial standpoint," says Streckenbach.

    The division would use data from the Public Safety Assessment to give judges information on the likelihood that a defendant will commit another crime or fail to return to court.

    "Then we can match the right service to the right offender, so we don't have situations where offenders from different levels are together," explains Erik Pritzl, the Executive Director of Brown County Health and Human Services.

    He says the new division would create some changes in how they currently administer services but ultimately will make the process more efficient.

    "We want to start with using evidence-based tools so that we can make sure every offender gets an assessment so we know their risk level," says Pritzl. 

    The initiative is part of County Executive Streckenbach's budget proposal, but he says this is something they had identified for a while.

    "Two years ago we started to talk about Brown County experiencing high trends in jail population," says Streckenbach. "We were noticing that a number of our individuals were experiencing addiction."

    He says the initiative will help staff to service approximately 280 to 380 additional individuals needs. 

    "We think we're going to increase our capacity overall for diversion as well as pre-trial services," says Pritzl. "We'll ideally have a more efficient system and better response."

    An annual budget hearing held by the entire Brown County Board of Supervisors will take place on October 31 at 9 AM. 


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - An initial court appearance was made on Monday by an Oshkosh man charged in connection to a traffic crash that killed his daughter.

    Court records show that 58-year-old Steven Brownell appeared by phone and a status conference is set for November 1.

    Brownell faces three charges, including homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, after an August 10 crash on Highway 45 that killed his 10-year-old daughter Kherington Brownell. 

    Her 13-year-old brother, Kage, was injured in the incident.

    According to the criminal complaint, Brownell's blood alcohol level was .278, which is more than three times the legal limit. 

    Brownell's car left the highway, went airborne, and crashed into a cornfield, according to the criminal complaint. A witness believed Brownell's vehicle was traveling around 100 mph.

    No comments from Brownell about the incident are included in the complaint. 


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  • 10/09/18--00:00: Ready, Set, Buy
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Brewer tickets for home games in the NLCS are selling fast.

     Fans who want to be part of the Brewers historical run will need to pick up their tickets sooner than later.  

    Travis Loftus, Ticket King Manager says the tickets are pretty affordable for a big postseason game.  

    "You are looking anywhere from $150 to $600 dollars depending on the kind of seat you are looking to sit in."  

    The cheaper level seats include upper level.  

    Loftus says he does not have a price for World Series tickets yet if the Brewers do advance, but they will be cheaper than Super Bowl tickets.  

    "My guess is World Series tickets are going to be anywhere around $500 dollars on up."

      Loftus says the fact the Baseball has a series rather than a one-game championship keeps the ticket prices down.  

    "We can afford to do that because there are at least two home games so the prices are spread out as opposed to a football game where there is just one game."    

    Loftus says they will likely have limited tickets available through the week.  

    "Once they announce the times, that is when the tickets will start flying," Loftus said. "People will start setting their plans and taking time off."  

    Loftus says they will likely have limited tickets available up until Friday.  

    The Brewers will have home games on Friday and Saturday this week against the Dodgers.

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - There is a push by some in Green Bay to weaken the consequences for getting caught with marijuana.

    The city council has been discussing changes to its ordinance for the past two months, but Monday night the protection and policy committee asked for more time to look at the issue.

    Under Green Bay's current ordinance, the penalty for possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana includes a fine of up to $1,000. It also states someone with a previous conviction in the state must be referred to the district attorney's office for criminal charges.

    Randy Scannell, a member of Green Bay’s city council, tells FOX 11 it's time for a change.

    “It seems to me that the penalties we have are not fair. They're out of line with our current situation, our current environment.”

    With some states legalizing recreational marijuana, Scannell first proposed changes to Green Bay's ordinance.

    A newly amended proposal would lower the highest possible fine to $500. The threshold for the amount of marijuana would also be raised to 28 grams, which equals one ounce. Community service could be done as a substitute for the fine or in conjunction with a fine. Police could also issue citations to repeat offenders, instead of referring them for criminal charges.

    “I still think the max fines could be lower,” said Dawn Radford of Green Bay.

    “You've got to do something,” said Mark Steuer, Green Bay’s city council president. “You've got to have some kind of fine, I believe.”

    Green Bay has looked at what other municipalities do.

    In Oshkosh, a first offense marijuana possession is $200. In Stevens Point, it's $100. In Milwaukee, possession is up to $50, but community service is an alternative. Madison's ordinance states people with less than an ounce in a private place won't be fined. If you're caught in public, it's up to a $100 fine.

    But council member John Vander Leest is still in favor of a hard line.

    “I think a $1,000 fine is a deterrent.”

    At Monday’s meeting, Vander Leest read statements from Brown County's district attorney and sheriff that stated lowering the potential fine is sending the wrong message.

    “The fines aren't that big,” said Vander Leest. “I think the system is not broken.”

    “To me, the message it sends is in Green Bay we're going to be fair about our criminal code for marijuana,” said Scannell.

    The committee voted to wait two more weeks before sending a final proposal to the full city council.

    It wants city staff to come up with separate consequences for someone caught with marijuana in their home and someone caught with it in public. It also wants information on whether it is possible to change rules for paraphernalia possession.

    According to Green Bay Police, 363 marijuana citations were issued last year. That compares to 336 this year, through September 26th.

    All citations issued the last two years were for $880, including court costs, which is just short of the $1,000 maximum fine.


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  • 10/09/18--02:10: Belly Up For The Brewers
  • PESHTIGO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) -The Brewers go for their 12th win in a row on Friday -- their longest streak since 1987. And there's more at stake than just taking Game One of the NLCS.

    If they win, it means free hamburgers from George Webb Restaurants.

    Director of Operations Matt Levknecht tells FOX 11 it hasn’t happened since 1987.

    “If the Brewers win 12 games then George Webb gives away free hamburgers.”

    Thirty-one years later, the Brewers are on the verge of doing it again, and so is George Webb.

    George Webb made its first 12-win prediction in 1948, but it didn't come true until 1987.

    “It was the beginning of the season, they actually had a streak of 13,” said Levknecht. “But that's the only time in 70 years that George Webb has been open and that it happened.”

    In Peshtigo, the countdown is on again. A sign hanging is marked with the number 11, just waiting for Friday’s results.

    In 1987, George Webb served nearly 200,000 burgers in 8 hours.

    Today, the Brewers are so close to another 12-win streak that fans can almost taste it.

    “I'm excited they're playing really good ball,” said Matt Berth. “The first game was kind of a nail-biter, but the second and third one went really, really good.”

    “It's going to be awesome,” Levknecht said. “All the staff is excited.”

    “That'll be great. I'll be here again,” said Berth.

    The Brewers play again on Friday and if they win, George Webb will pick a date to give away free hamburgers.

    Peshtigo is home to the only George Webb north of Milwaukee.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Driving on a stretch of I-41 in Outagamie County could soon be brought down a peg.

    The county's highway department is moving forward with a proposal to lower the speed limit between Grand Chute and De Pere.

    Drivers may have to slow down from 70 mph to 55 mph on 41 from Highway 15 in Grand Chute, to Scheuring Road near De Pere.

    “I can understand lowering the speed limit from 70, but I’m not quite sure 55 is the right number.”

    Motorist Dennis Hultgren tells Fox 11 there should be a happy medium.

    “I think 60 or 65 would be better, but I think 55 is a little slow going through town.”

    The Outagamie County Highway, Recycling and Solid Waste Committee met Monday to discuss the reduction.

    Committee chairman Donald DeGroot tells FOX 11 all members agreed to approve the drafting of a joint resolution to reduce the speed limit.

    “There will be some people that are going to object to it, there’s no question. However, it’s our responsibility to make that highway as safe as we possibly can.”

    The Grand Chute Police Department compiled activity data on a highly traveled portion of the highway within Grand Chute and Appleton for the committee.

    In the past two years, there have been about 900 accidents, close to 1,000 reckless drivers and nearly 700 traffic stops.

    “Not only is the highway unsafe with the speed limit, but it’s very expensive, because of the fact that you have to respond to all those incidents,” DeGroot said.

    Once the proposal is written, it will be up to the county board to pass it, and send the request to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

    WisDOT region communication manager Mark Kantola...

    “We have a department here that focuses on speed limits, then they do a traffic speed study, which involves gathering the data from the portion that they either want to be raised or lowered. We look at that data, and we look at what’s the most reasonable speed out there for a vehicle to travel.”

    County board officials could decide on whether to pass the proposal at their next meeting later this month.

    That portion of the highway Outagamie County wants lowered will also cross into Brown County.

    Officials are hoping they will get Brown County’s cooperation in dropping the speed.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Lawrence University officials in Appleton say the student who was hit by a car Friday night has now been released from the hospital.

    Appleton police are now sharing surveillance video, hoping it will help find the driver.

    The video shows a woman crossing the intersection of E. College Avenue and N. Lawe Street.

    She's then hit by a driver who briefly pulls over but then drives away. The woman is seen lying in the road. A number of vehicles pass her before someone stopped to help.

    "She required hospitalization and treatment for those injuries. We believe it’s a silver/gray jaguar S-series that we're looking for," Police Capt. Polly Olson told FOX 11.

    Olson says there's not a lot of difference between the College and Lawe intersection and other busy intersections in the city.

    "The student was hospitalized Friday and Saturday night and from our understanding was released late yesterday (Sunday)," said Ken Anselment, Lawrence University Vice President of enrollment and communication.

    The school isn't releasing the student's name.

    "This most recent accident at this intersection, I think, is going to energize conversations about what we can do to ensure greater pedestrian safety at this particular troublesome spot," said Anselment.

    Olson says Friday's incident isn't the first time a pedestrian was hit by a car on College Avenue.

    "We did have a similar type of crash a year ago, last October, that person was intoxicated and I believe sentenced recently in regard to that crash."

    Another incident happened 5 years ago. A student was badly hurt when she was hit by a car. That case is still unsolved.

    But some students who use the intersection often, say, for the most part, it's safe.

    "I'm usually not nervous, only if the cars are turning left, people usually obey the stop signs," said sophomore, Sofie Schwartz.

    Officials say even with signs, drivers and walkers need to pay attention to their surroundings.

    If you have information about the incident, the Appleton Police Department asks that you call the non-emergency number at 920-832-5500.


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - A Shawano County woman accused of trying to hide the death of her baby is scheduled to be in court today.

    22-year-old Christine Barker is facing charges of child neglect, not reporting a death an attempting to move or hide a body.

    Police says they were called to Barker's residence on September 28 for a welfare check of an infant.

    During the investigation a search of Barker's phone showed that she sent a text to two friends, explaining that the child was dead, and to avoid getting in trouble, she was not going to call the police and just bury the body.

    She told police she gave the infant cough medicine and woke in the morning to find the child dead.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - It was announced on Tuesday that a unique child support program will be expanded in the proposed 2019 Brown County budget.

    Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach announced the expansion of the ELEVATE program, which stands for "Empowering Lives thru Education, Vocational Assessment, Training and Employment."

    It attempts to improve child support by boosting the economic stability of noncustodial parents, which he says is an innovative approach compared to traditional methods.

    "It was more of the hammer of government, versus looking at the more holistic approach they are taking now," says Streckenbach.

    Instead of simply focusing on the child in need, agencies have attempted to attack the root of the problem by working to increase the ability of noncustodial parents to support their children.

    Brown County Executive Streckenbach says numbers reflect the approaches success.

    "Sixty-six percent of the noncustodial parents who were not making payments to their children, through this process are actually being successful," he says.

    Maria Lasecki, Director of the Brown County Child Support Agency, is also high in her praise of the initiative.

    "We've seen noncustodial parents re-engage with their children after eight years of non-involvement and non-visitation," she says.

    She says the difference is an overhaul in approach to the problem, which begins with attempting to address the individual obstacles that prevent parents from being able to properly support their children.

    "Now we're asking the questions why and offering the services of this program," she explains. "So that we can take a look at wrapping around services that they might not even know that they need."

    The provision of employment services will be added to Brown County Child Support, in an effort to connect noncustodial parents with high-demand industries in the area.

    Those services will be rendered through one representative of the agency who can consider the scope of services needed and then direct that individual to the appropriate resource within the community.

    "We're helping them remove barriers that historically kept them from being custodial parents," says Streckenbach.

    An annual budget hearing will be held by the entire Brown County Board of Supervisors on October 31.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A proposal from the Outagamie County Highway Department is aimed at lowering the speed limit for a stretch of I-41, which extends into Brown County, but for now local officials are saying they need more information before any possible changes are made.

    The proposal would drop the speed limit from 70 to 55 mph on I-41 from Highway 15 in Grand Chute to Scheuring Road near De Pere.

    Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach says the possible speed reduction could have some drawbacks.

    "Right now people who are traveling on [Highway] 41 are accustomed to driving at 70 miles per hour, so when you reduce that it potentially creates an unintended risk that potentially no one is thinking about," he explains.

    Close to 900 accidents and 700 traffic stops have been reported in the past two years on the stretch of roadway.

    Those numbers are enough to convince Brown County Executive Streckenbach that potential changes should be discussed.

    "Outagamie is trying to bring this to the forefront from a conversation standpoint and of course we're concerned about the overall safety travelers," he says.

    At this point though, he believes more information is needed to direct the conversation.

    "Data is needed in order for us to really make some concrete decisions about how to move forward," says Streckenbach. "The public needs to be able to weigh-in and have some voice in terms of what that might look like."

    Streckenbach did mention that there might be alternatives to reducing the speed limit to achieve a goal of improved roadway safety.

    "One of the things that I think is a potentially low-cost, high-impact [option] would be an additional law enforcement presence along those sections," he noted.

    Outagamie County board officials could possibly decide on the future of the proposal at their next meeting, which is later this month.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - Manitowoc Police are offering a $500 cash reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects in an armed robbery.

    The incident happened on September 27 at a home on South 11th Street.

    Police say two men entered a home with a handgun, took money, and struck a resident several times with the gun.

    The first suspect is described as African-American, between 25 and 35 years old and 5'7 to 5'9 tall.

    A second suspect is described as an African-American man who was wearing a grey shirt and a black stocking cap. 

    Anyone with information is strongly encouraged to contact the Manitowoc Police Department at (920) 686-6570 or can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (920) 683-4466.

     


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - A Shawano mother charged in connection to her infant son's death will return to court for a competency evaluation.

    22-year-old Catherine Barker was in court on Tuesday after being charged with neglect of a child, not reporting the death and attempting to move, hide, or bury the body.

    Her bond is currently set at $100,000 cash and she will return to court for her evaluation on November 12.

    Barker noticed her two-month-old son wasn't breathing on September 28 and performed CPR, according to the criminal complaint.

    After the child wasn't revived, she failed to contact the police or call 911, according to prosecutors.

    The criminal complaint states that a search of her phone revealed that she then messaged a friend that her son had died and that she planned on burying him at St. John's Cemetary on the Menominee Indian Reservation, then moving to the Oshkosh or Brandon area.

    The friend then contacted the police and authorities discovered the deceased infant in her home.

    Barker has told investigators that she believes the child suffocated himself with a blanket, while the cause of death and an autopsy are still pending. 


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