Sheriff: Man May Have Been Imitating Closs Abduction

Ritchie German Jr. allegedly killed 4 in Wisconsin before taking his own life
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 30, 2019 1:47 PM CDT
Sheriff: Man May Have Been Imitating Closs Abduction
A Lake Hallie Police officer works outside a home Monday, July 29, 2019, in Lake Hallie, Wis., following a shooting the night before. Authorities in northwestern Wisconsin say shootings at two homes have left five people dead, including the suspected shooter, and two others injured.   (Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP)

Authorities in Wisconsin say a man suspected of killing four people may have been imitating the abduction last year of teenager Jayme Closs. Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said Tuesday that investigators may never know exactly what led to the Sunday attacks. He tells the AP that investigators believe Ritchie German Jr. fatally shot his mother, brother, and brother's 8-year-old son at their home in Lafayette before using a shotgun to blast his way into a home in nearby Lake Hallie, where he killed a 24-year-old woman and wounded her parents before killing himself.

Kowalczyk says German had texted the 24-year-old woman inquiring about a personal relationship, but she texted back saying she didn't know him. Authorities also say German left his car running with items inside that suggested similarities to the Closs case. They wouldn't elaborate on those items. Chief Deputy Chad Holum says if abduction was intended, "it did not work out for him." Jayme Closs was abducted from her parents' home last fall in Barron, just 40 miles from the site of the most recent slayings. Jayme's parents were killed, but she eventually escaped from her abductor.

(More Wisconsin stories.)

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