Special to the EagleHerald
This approximation from DNA phenotyping by Parabon NanoLabs shows the suspect in the 1976 McClintock Park murders at age 25. 
Special to the EagleHerald

This approximation from DNA phenotyping by Parabon NanoLabs shows the suspect in the 1976 McClintock Park murders at age 25. 

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MARINETTE — The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Monday to provide an update in the investigation of a double homicide that happened on July 9, 1976, at McClintock Park in the Town of Silver Cliff. Now, 42 years to the day after the crime, new DNA phenotype technology may help the sheriff’s office close one of the county’s most famous unsolved cases. 

The weekend after Independence Day 1976, David Schuldes, 25, and Ellen Matheys, 24, an engaged Green Bay couple who planned to marry in September, left Green Bay around 10 a.m. on July 9 and drove north to Marinette County to camp over the weekend, stopping to check out Goodman Park before continuing on to McClintock Park. Schuldes, a UW-Green Bay graduate, worked part-time in the circulation department of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Matheys was also a UW-Green Bay graduate and worked in the technical services department of the university library. 

Schuldes and Matheys were murdered while camping in McClintock Park that same day. Schuldes’ body was found by a park attendant on a path near the park’s restroom, dead from a shot to the throat. Matheys’ body was found the next morning in a wooded area outside McClintock Park, and showed signs of sexual assault as well as two gunshot wounds. A .30 caliber rifle was used to kill both, and no shell casings were found. 

Though law enforcement agencies combed the area and compiled physical and DNA evidence, no arrests were ever made and the case grew cold. In 2001, on the 25th anniversary of the crime, the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office profiled some DNA evidence that was preserved from Matheys’ autopsy, which eliminated half of the case’s suspects. Computer software was also used to update a sketch of the male suspect, which was based on a description from two people who saw a man carrying a rifle in the park that day. Though the department received many tips, none led to an arrest. 

The sheriff’s office kept the DNA evidence recovered from the autopsy on file, and it is regularly cross-referenced with DNA on file through the national criminal justice database, the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). No matches have been found to date. Recent developments in DNA technology, however, opened up the case to the possibility of new renderings of the suspect. 

According to Sheriff Jerry Sauve, the sheriff’s office in April decided the case was a candidate for analysis by Parabon NanoLabs, a Virginia company that specializes “in phenotyping DNA and predicting physical appearance and ancestry” of crime suspects based on unidentified DNA evidence. For about $4,000, the company generated a snapshot of the suspect at the time of the crime and a snapshot of what he might look like today. 

“This is science, folks,” Sauve said in the press conference. “This is no longer an artist’s conjecture from a witness.” 

Sauve gave the example of a case in Texas which used a Parabon composite picture to search for suspects. A suspect who matched the rendering confessed to the crime and was arrested. 

“What we are hopeful for is that the public is going to see this, somebody is going to make the right call, they’re going to call our dedicated line,” Sauve said. “That’s really something, that science can do that now.” 

The suspect is a male, fair-skinned with freckles, blue eyes and reddish-brown hair. If still alive, he could be around age 65. The tips phone line dedicated to the case is 715-732-7310, and tips can also be called in to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-427-5857.