02-14-2015, 09:17 PM #1
WI - Stephen Kappell, 18, Oshkosh, 28 September 1965
According to Kappell’s death certificate, the 18-year old college freshman was brutally beaten, thrown into Lake Winnebago and drowned. His death was ruled a homicide. Newspaper articles from the time reveal details of Kappell being found bound and with a 30-pound rock attached to his naked body. It’s a horrific death his sister says he didn’t deserve.
Martha Kemp is Stephen Kappell’s sister. She says, “He was a good person. He was a very smart and intelligent, athletic man and he deserved to have a full life and that was robbed from him.”
Now, almost 50 years later, Kappell’s family knows it’s a long shot, but they really want to know why he was killed. “It certainly changed our lives forever, from a happy middle class family to something that was just horrific,” says Martha Kemp.
His death certificate said he was brutally beaten and drowned — and listed his death as a homicide.
But, as St. Aubin recalls and a newspaper article from December 9, 1965 confirms, a hearing was held to determine if Kappell was murdered or if he committed suicide. The jury’s verdict was undetermined. St. Aubin said he testified at that hearing and was convinced Kappell was murdered.
According to St. Aubin, “I was attesting to the good person he was. And they wanted to make it sound like he had mental problems and he committed suicide, which didn’t happen, didn’t happen.”
Days later the body was identified as Kappell’s with the help of fingerprints. An inquest ruled the exact cause of death as undetermined and the case remained untouched for nearly 50 years.
Oshkosh police today say they weren’t even aware of the Kappell case until recently. We’re told Kappell’s sister asked for the case to be looked into again. “Not sure how it got passed all of these years,” Nichols said, “but when the family members contacted us it was reopened, and we were like, OK, let’s look forward, let’s look into it, see if we have any information, if anyone can remember anything.”
That’s when police took to social media asking for information about the case. Fifty years after the fact, police know Kappell’s acquaintances and classmates would be in their 60’s and 70’s, but authorities are sure someone knows something.
02-17-2015, 02:11 AM #2
This certainly doesn't sound like suicide, not at all.
From another article on Feb 4
"Kappellís death certificate labeled his death a homicide, saying he was brutally beaten and eventually drowned after being thrown in Lake Winnebago. But newspaper reports from less than two months later say several people, who testified at a coronerís inquest, claimed Kappell likely died by suicide. Itís a story Barry Busby isnít buying."
So the coroner ruled the death a homicide, yet "several people" testified that it was a suicide. No, people committing suicide don't beat themselves badly, then bind themselves up, tie on a 30 lb rock and jump nude into a lake.
Who were the "several people" who claimed it was a suicide? Were any of them representatives of the university concerned about bad publicity? How much trouble can an average 18 yo college freshman get into in 1965? There wouldn't have been drugs on a small midwestern campus then, nor much of any other vices.
Was he pledging a fraternity? Victim of a prank turned demented and violent? Dating someone's sweetheart? This was a very violent death, likely committed by more than one person. At least two people would be needed to throw him and the rock into the lake.
It's commendable that local LE are now adamantly looking into the case. Someone knows what happened.
ETA: He was last seen at his dorm, Breese Hall, on Sept. 28. He wascreported missing by a high school friend and fellow college student on Sept. 30.
Last edited by Betty P; 02-17-2015 at 02:24 AM.All statements are my opinion only.
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