In a case Columbia County Detective Wayne Smith calls "twisted and bizarre," a Sheboygan woman was arrested Tuesday night for stealing her boyfriend's remains from the Cambria Cemetery over 10 years ago.
Michael Hendrickson died at the age of 27 in 1992 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hendrickson's family contacted law enforcement about three weeks ago because they received information his remains had been stolen.
An exhumation revealed Hendrickson's cremated remains were missing from the grave. Memorabilia such as beer and cigarettes that had been buried with him were also gone.
Detectives Smith and Jay Yerges then performed an extensive investigation, ultimately leading them to Karen Stolzmann, now 44.
The detectives executed a search warrant on Stolzmann's home with the assistance of the Sheboygan Police Department. The suspect was hiding.
"She was in the shower, but she wasn't showering," Smith said.
Smith said the cremains, located in her garage, had "identifiable things to make us believe they're (Hendrickson's)."
Some of Hendrickson's memorabilia was also recovered. However, Smith believes Stolzmann drank the beer that was buried with the remains.
Stolzmann was arrested Tuesday night and later released, with a Nov. 15 return date.
She was not very cooperative during her interview, according to Yerges, but he believes he knows her motive.
Yerges said Stolzmann and Hendrickson were living together in the early 1990s, both married to other people. The relationship was stormy, with a pattern of alcohol and domestic abuse, according to Yerges.
When Hendrickson shot himself in January 1992, Stolzmann was present. Yerges said Hendrickson's family blamed her for his death and she was not invited to his cemetery services.
"I feel that her motive was spite," Yerges said. "If she has the cremains, that's her control over (Hendrickson's) family."
Yerges also believes emotional attachment was a factor in Stolzmann's actions.
Hendrickson's family, who reside in Cleveland, Wis., declined comment. However, Smith said they were happy to hear the remains were located.