3rd suspect arrested in Marathon County homicide case tells different story

Audrey Benson, 20
Audrey Benson, 20(Marathon County Jail)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 1:45 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -A 20-year-old woman has told a different story which removes the primary suspect in a Marathon County homicide case.

Audrey Benson appeared in Marathon County Circuit Court Wednesday for her alleged involvement in the Dec. 29 murder of Chris Schauer. The 20-year-old’s body was found by a fur trapper in a wooded area of the McMillian Marsh.

Shawn Carl, 50 and Jared Carl, 20, were arrested earlier this month after Schauer’s car was found on their property. Jared Carl said his father shot and killed Schauer.

Prosecutors said Benson has a different account.

Marathon County County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon said Benson and Schauer were friends. She said they met Jared Carl and drove to the McMillian Marsh to smoke marijuana. Benson said she got out of the car to go to the bathroom. While outside the vehicle she heard what she thought was a BB gun. She told investigators when she came back to the car she saw Jared Carl removing Schauer’s body. Benson reportedly said she saw Jared Carl holding a gun.

Prosecutors said Jared Carl explained his father’s alleged involvement during a jailhouse interview with detectives. He said his father shot Schauer five to six times during a meeting regarding an alleged drug transaction. He said Schauer came to the property on Dec. 29. Shawn Carl and Jared Carl got in an SUV and drove along with Schauer into a field. Jared Carl said once stopped, he remained in the SUV while his father got out to talk to Schauer. He said his dad got in the rear seat of Schauer’s car. He said they spoke for about 10 minutes before his father shot Schauer.

Wetzsteon said Benson was interviewed by detectives on Dec. 30 and didn’t share this information.

“The investigation obviously still continues into this matter. Before issuing charges, we would like that investigation to be at least more concluded than it is right now,” said Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon.

Attorney Trevor Peterson asked the judge to hold an initial appearance within 72 hours.

“Your Honor, but what I heard there sounded like it is a little convoluted what her involvement is,” Peterson said.

Judge Greg Huber asked Wetzsteon how quickly she could file a criminal complaint.

“Well, as I stated that information… Obviously, the defendant herself is the cause of the delay in that she denied any involvement or any knowledge and now this kind of information, which needs to be properly followed up, which is why we’re requesting the March 8 [date],” Wetzsteon said.

Jared Carl remains in custody on a $250,000 cash bond. Shawn Carl remains in custody on $1 million cash bond. Benson remains in custody on a $500,000 cash bond. All three are expected to be formally charged March 8.

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