The U.S. Attorneys Office says there isn't enough evidence to file criminal charges in connection to an apparent hit-list, with the names of 60 Shawano area officials and citizens.
Federal authorites have been investigating the list since a Canadian businessman named Bob Cameron contacted police, claiming he was hired as a hit man to 'take care of' the people on the list. He says the list came from members of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology, or SIST. Local officials say SIST is a secretive religious organization that has been in the community for decades, and was once known as the 'Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.'
SIST repeatedly denied they were being investigated, and said no one from the group was even questioned about the list. NewsChannel 7 contacted SIST's attorney, Alan Eisenberg, about the closure of the case at the US Attorneys Office. He says it's another media 'smear job' and denies the US Attorneys have made any statement about the case.
The FBI and local Shawano authorities made those 60 people aware of the list at a meeting in Shawano last fall. NewsChannel 7 was at that meeting, where FBI officials told those on the list to be watchful, vigilant, and aware of their surroundings. They said at least 3 people on the list were believed to have been targeted for physical violence.
Cameron made his claims about receiving the list public in December, in an interview with NewsChannel 7 and the CBS Evening news, shining a national spotlight on the investigation. He said SIST owed him money for go-carts he sold them for their racetrack. He claimed he gained SIST's trust, and implied he could help them with their political problems. At that time, he said, they sent him the list with the word 'Redrum', which is murder spelled backwards, on top. Since that time, citizens of Shawano County, and especially the people on the list, have been waiting for someone to be held accountable.
Cameron tells NewsChannel 7 that no one, including federal authorities, has asked him about the list since our interview last year. Several officials, including Shawano Sheriff Randy Wright, Shawano City Attorney Tim Schmid, and Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt say they've been surprised by the lack of communication from the FBI about the case.
Mayor Marquardt, whose name was on the top of the list, says closure feels a long ways off. “I called the FBI and it was my hope that the FBI would be able to tell me its over, and our community can resume life as it was before all of this information came forward”, said Marquardt. “And unfortunately, they weren't able to give me that information.”
Marquardt said when she spoke with the FBI Wednesday afternoon, they weren't aware that the US Attorneys had finished reviewing their evidence. She said the number one question on her mind was whether the community could let their guard down. “I did ask if we could resume our lives as before this all happened”, she said. “And I was told they could not comment, they could not give me those assurances today.”
Marquardt said the FBI is planning to hold another meeting for the 60 people whose names are on that list. A date for that meeting has not yet been set, but Marquardt said she knows there will be many questions. “It certainly is not a common thing to hear that you're on a list and someone wants to harm you in any way”, she said. “So it's a lot for the community to deal with and for the families to deal with, so I'll be very happy for everyone when this is over.”