News: Colby (Murder Suspect - 21 Sep 1968)

Contact: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Aponte, Cummings, Haldeman, Smolenski, Thiede

----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 9/23/2015

Originally published in the Colby Phonograph, September 21, 1968.

Hatfield murder suspect nabbed at Abby Theater.

A former area resident suspected in the murder of a Hatfield youth was arrested in Abbotsford Monday less than four hours after the murder was discovered in Jackson County.

Gary W. Thiede, 19, formerly of rural Unity, was taken into custody when he came out of the Abby Theatre that night after seeing the film “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Two stolen weapons that police speculate may have been used in the murder were also confiscated from Thiede and from a motel room he had rented in Abbotsford.

The murder took place Monday evening, Sept, 19, at a residence in Hatfield, a small town midway between Neillsville and Black River Falls. Jackson County Sheriff Gary Cummings reported that his officers were notified of the death at 5:38 p.m. that day, and went to the residence of Wayne and Vicky Smolenski.

The body of Robert K. Aponte, 16, a Native American, was found in a bedroom of the house. He had been shot in the head and his throat had been cut, Cummings, Stated. County coroner Barbara Haldeman was called to the scene.

Missing from the residence were some weapons and a car owned by the Smolenskis, a 1969 brown Dodge station wagon.

It was soon learned that Thiede had taken a room at the Cedar Crest Motel on Highway 13 North after the stolen car was spotted in the motel’s parking lot.



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