Widow formally charged with murder in husband's 2006 death
The 65-year-old widow of a man found dead in 2006 was formally charged Friday morning with his murder. Cindy Schulz-Juedes remains in the Marathon County Jail on $1 million bond.
Ken Juedes, 58, was found dead Aug. 30, 2006 by his wife, Schulz-Juedes. Investigators said he died of two shotgun wounds. Ken’s wife, Schulz-Juedes, was long considered a person of interest.
On Dec. 2, she appeared in Marathon County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour, who is assisting Marathon County district attorney Theresa Wetzsteon as special prosecutor, said that both means and motive were found as probable cause to hold her on a cash bond.
Court documents filed Friday reveal new details regarding the case, but no newly-discovered information appears to have motivated the charges.
A key element in the case is the missing murder weapon, the shotgun used to kill Kenneth. Court documents reveal that Cindy’s ex-husband told detectives that Cindy was given a 20 gauge shotgun after their divorce in 2002. When detectives asked Cindy about the shotgun, she told them that Kenneth’s son had stolen the shotgun a year earlier. Records show that members of the sheriff’s office had been to the Juedes’ residence a total of ten times in the fifteen months prior to Kenneth’s death, and a report about the missing gun was never made. To date, the murder weapon has never been found.
Court documents also show that Cindy initially reported not being able to find Kenneth’s will following his death, after life insurance policies of almost $1 million were discovered. Cindy said she later found a copy of the will in a wedding photograph book, dated from 2004. Detectives interviewed the attorney who signed the will, who said the signature looked like his but the format was not prepared in a way that his office uses. The attorney also gave a sworn deposition denying he was with Kenneth when Kenneth purportedly made the will, or that he had signed or witnessed it. Four years after Kenneth’s death, court documents say a handwriting expert said Kenneth’s signature on the will was “probably not genuine”.
Kenneth’s blood alcohol content at the time of his death was .192% and .247% vitreous, despite Cindy Juedes telling detectives that Kenneth had had “at most” two cans of beer on the night of his death. His mother, who spent the day with him before his death, said he had declined beer that day and she had not seen him drinking any alcohol.
A note with the word “b****” was also found next to the body, stabbed through with a kitchen knife through a pillow.
Kenneth’s mother told detectives that despite appearing to have a good relationship with Cindy prior to Kenneth’s death, Cindy did not make attempts to call or check on her. Cindy also decided to have her own funeral for Kenneth, chose to cremate him, and did not provide portions of Kenneth’s remains to any of his four biological children.
The criminal complaint says no blood was found on her clothes when Schulz-Juedes reported her husband as dead, despite significant blood at the scene of the crime and Cindy purportedly administering first aid. She had gone to a neighbor to call for help, saying the phone at her house was "screaming", an indication of a fast busy signal and being off the hook, Dufour said. Later, other phones were found on the hook at her home, but one phone in the garage was found off the hook.
During a phone interview with NewsChannel 7 in 2011, Schulz-Juedes said she told authorities she didn't know what happened to Ken because she didn't sleep in the couple's Colby-area home that night. She said she had slept in a camper on the property because she had a sinus infection.
At the probable cause hearing earlier this month, Dofour said the camper would have been extremely hot, that she had expressed dislike of the camper in the past, and that there were other rooms that would have better suited her illness, including a bedroom in the basement.
In early 2007, Cindy Schulz-Juedes offered up $25,000 of her own money as a reward for anyone who has information about Ken's murder.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted in this investigation by the Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office, Marathon County District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice, State Crime Lab, Division of Criminal Investigation and the State Attorney General’s Office.
A judge is expected to rule if there is enough evidence Dec. 20 for Schulz-Juedes' case to head to trial. If convicted, she could face up to life behind bars.