During the third day of testimony in the Raul Ponce-Rocha trial, the Forensic Pathologist who performed an autopsy on Breanna Schneller the day after she was found dead was called to the stand.
Dr. Robert Corliss explained upon external examination he observed, multiple blunt force injuries on head, arms and thorax. He states that the injuries are consistent with being hit by an iron, going on to say the angle of the bruising and lacerations are consistent.
The doctor also notes cuts to back of hands consistent with a defensive posture.
Dr. Corliss determines complex homicidal violence was the cause of death.
He goes on to say he is unable to determine if there was one or multiple assailants involved.
The second person to take the stand Thursday is Lieutenant Craig Dunbar from the Wausau Police Department. Lt. Dunbar says during an interview with Sebastian Ramirez, Breanna’s fiancé and roommate, he saw her texting. Upon receiving this information, he proceeds to locate Breanna’s phone.
The phone is not found within her Wausau apartment. The Department of Criminal Investigation is then contacted to help locate the phone. DCI is able to trace the phone using GPS equipment. Around 9:30 p.m on May 2, DCI found the near Rib Mountain Drive and Cty. Hwy NN.
Undercover officers driving unmarked cars go the area in effort to locate the phone. With the help of DCI, Wausau dectectives found a plastic bag in a dumpster near El Tequila Salsa and IHOP. Lt. Dunbar adds the dumpster is only used for cardboard. The bag was taken back to Wausau Police Department. In the bag, officers found Breanna’s cell phone, two pairs of women’s underwear, and two mismatched knit gloves. One of the gloves appeared to have a red stain.
Lt. Dunbar recovered Breanna’s phone records. The last outgoing text was at 10:23 a.m. May 2nd to a friend.
Lt. Dunbar also obtained Ponce Rocha’s phone records. He states that three calls were made the morning of May 2nd, one at 10:34 a.m. and one at 10:35 a.m. Both calls went to voicemail. A call placed to Ponce-Rocha’s phone at 10:57 a.m. was answered.
Next, Sebastian Ramirez takes the stand. He and Breanna are engaged to be married and share an apartment together in Wausau, with Sebastian’s brother, Hugo.
Sebastian says he arrives at work at 10:13 a.m. on May 2. He says he saw Raul Ponce-Rocha when he arrived. Sebastian says he texted Breanna that morning with no response. He describes it is unusual for her to not respond to a text message.
Sebastian was scheduled to take a break at work at 1 p.m. However, Sebastian agrees to switch break times with his brother, and will now take a break at 3 p.m.
Sebastian says his brother Hugo left for break at about 1:20 p.m. Sebastian states he receives a call from Hugo at about 1:30 p.m. Hugo is frantic and in shock, he says something is wrong with Breanna.
Sebastian says Raul Ponce-Rocha has been has been to their apartment twice before Breanna’s death. He was there during Halloween 2008 and in February 2009. Sebastian says Raul did not touch the iron in his bedroom on either visit.
Detective Cord Buckner from the Wausau Police Department is called to testify.
Detective Buckner states he physically removed the evidence from the white bag found inside the dumpster behind El Tequila Salsa. He describes opening the back from the bottom to not disturb what could be DNA on the upper area of the bag where it was tied.
Buckner meets with Raul Ponce-Rocha on May 6, four days following Breanna Schneller’s murder. He explains the Wausau Police Department is focusing on the employees of El Tequila Salsa because they found evidence in the dumpster near the restaurant. Police obtain surveillance video from the neighboring Mobile Gas Station, El Tequila Salsa, and the Burger King Drive Thru prior to the interview with Ponce-Rocha.
In the interview with Ponce-Rocha says he left work at about 10:30 a.m. to pick up a co-worker named Luciano. Luciano also lived in the same apartment complex as Breanna, Sebastian and Hugo. Ponce-Rocha says he knows nothing about how Breanna died and he did not see her Friday or Saturday.
Detective Buckner notices cuts on Ponce-Rocha’s hands. When questioned about them he says they are from cutting onions and sharpening knieves. A photograph is taken of Ponce-Rocha’s hands.
Stay tuned to NewsChannel 7 and wsaw.com for the very latest updates from court.
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