The Green Bay Northwoods Killings — Ch 9
Chapter Nine: An unsolved murder right in Ray's stomping ground
Mrs. Patricia Wisniewski was shot dead near Amberg, Wisconsin on August 30th, 1975, just ten months before the murders of David and Ellen.
According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
Mrs. Pat Wisniewskl was shot about 1 a.m. Saturday in a mobile home which served as a family summer cottage, about six miles from Amberg. Three children Julia, 8, Brenda, 7, and Emil, 3 were asleep in the mobile home and apparently did not hear the shot. Mrs. Wisniewski's husband, Antone, was not home at the time of the shooting.
Investigators explanation of the circumstances didn’t shed much light on what happened.
[Marinette County Sheriff Earl] Wagner and Coroner Ken Mattison theorized that the victim heard a knock on the door, refused to admit whoever was there, and was shot once with a shotgun. A hole two inches in diameter was found In the window and screen of the door near where her body lay.
In a strange twist, the FBI initially investigated whether Patricia may have been rubbed out in retaliation for her husband, Antone, testifying for the government against a Milwaukee tavern owner. The Post-Crescent wrote:
Antone was a witness in the trial of Vincent J. Maniaci, 56, operator of Little Caesar's Cocktail Lounge. Maniaci was convicted in April on charges of loan extortion and of interstate transportation of four stolen mink coats.
Antone himself, who had not been present the night of Pat’s murder, was questioned about his whereabouts on the night in question, but nobody was ever brought to justice.
The site where Patricia Wisniewski was murdered is about 10 miles from where David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys were killed ten months later.
Could Ray have been the murderer of Patricia Wisniewski?
I absolutely believe it’s possible. The murder was in the same area as the murders of David and Ellen, separated by only ten months’ time. Like their killing, the crime seems senseless, without motive. The perpetrator used a firearm, first to attempt to coerce, then to kill. In addition, the home in Lakewood, where Raymand Vannieuwenhoven was arrested in 2019, is in the same general area, about a fifteen minute drive away.
Is it possible to know for sure?
To find out, we’d have to overcome some facts.
First, Ray was convicted and sent to prison for another crime already. Law enforcement doesn’t like to expend resources on offenders that are already locked up. Second, Ray is dead. The only thing law enforcement likes less than expending resources on offenders who are already locked up is expending resources on offenders who are dead.
So, if we could get someone in law enforcement convinced that Pat Wisniewski’s family still deserves answers, you could move on to the next steps—perhaps examining old evidence in Marinette County and looking at the case with fresh eyes.
Is there any DNA in an evidence locker? Shotgun shell casings? As of now, we don’t know.
The damage so far:
1971: Diane Cartier Murdered in Green Bay. Leland Jarvey convicted, 2000.
1972: Mary Kay Zenz Murdered in Green Bay. Randy Schimmel convicted, 1979.
1975: Mrs. Pat Wisniewski Murdered near Amberg. Unsolved. Ray Vannieuwenhoven possible perpetrator.
1976: David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys murdered. Ray Vannieuwenhoven convicted, 2021.
In the next chapter, we’ll go back a few years, to 1972, and another unsolved murder in northern Wisconsin with similarities to the rape and murder of Ellen Matheys.
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Troy Larson is a writer, digital content creator with hundreds of podcast and broadcast credits to his name, and harbinger of things that go bump in the night. Subscribe to the Until Night Falls Newsletter on Substack. Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org