Woman who helped hide body out on bond
by Ed Zagorski
JUNEAU — A 21-year-old Ixonia woman, who assisted a convicted killer in hiding a Beaver Dam man’s body at the Dodge County property where she lived, was placed on a $5,000 signature bond on Tuesday, Sept. 3 during her initial appearance in Dodge County Circuit Court.
Dakota Schlesner is charged with hiding a corpse, party to a crime. She could face up to 12 1/2 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted of the offense.
According to online court records, Schlesner appeared with her attorney, Clifford Burdon. Dodge County Court Commissioner Steven Seim found probable cause and set the signature bond with conditions that she not have direct or indirect contact or communications with Nigel Schultz, Rebecca Wolc, and the family of the victim, Bradley Gehrke.
Nigel Schultz, 21, pleaded no contest to first-degree homicide in Gerke’s death and faces a mandatory life sentence. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2020.
According to the criminal complaint, Schlesner is a resident of N901 Redwing Road in rural Ixonia, where Gerke’s body was found on Oct. 31.
Rebecca Wolc, 33, has also been charged as an accomplice in the case. She has a telephone scheduling conference Sept. 18. She allegedly hid Schultz when police came to her Beaver Dam apartment searching for him.
Schultz confessed to police at the time of his arrest that he shot Gerke and then tried to hide the body. Schultz had convinced Gerke to go to the home at Redwing Road, where he shot Gerke in the back of the head. He then picked up another gun and shot Gerke 15 more times in the head and chest.
According to the complaint, Schultz told the officers questioning him that Schlesner helped him while he was trying to hide Gerke’s body. Schultz admitted to calling Schlesner shortly after shooting Gerke.
Schultz allegedly told Schlesner not to say anything and she agreed not to. Schultz said they tried to put Gerke’s body into a 50-gallon burn barrel, but were unable to do so. The body was then buried in a shallow grave on the property before being retrieved by law enforcement.
Schlesner also admitted to knowledge of Gerke’s death while being questioned by law enforcement, according to the criminal complaint. Schlesner said she was afraid after seeing Gerke’s body that Schultz might do the same thing to her. She denied helping Schultz hide the body, but admitted being around Schultz while he was trying to hide Gerke’s remains. However, she did allegedly say that she put hay on top of the burial site.
A preliminary hearing for Schlesner is scheduled for Sept. 19 in Dodge County Circuit Court.
Walk the line
Above, during the first full week of school, Ben Kluz, 13, an eighth-grade student at St. John’s Lutheran School in Juneau, walks across Main Street Monday under the guidance of crossing guard Willie Kreis.
(photos by Ed Zagorski)