Julie Speerschneider Murder – Unsolved
March 27, 1979 – Madison, WI
Julie Speerschneider mysteriously vanished. According to witnesses, she had spent most of the evening at the 602 Club, a bar at 602 University Avenue, when she decided to hitchhike to a friend’s house. Shortly after her disappearance, a man told police that he had picked up Julie, who he had recognized from media reports, along with a male companion and dropped them off at the corner of Johnson and Brearly. The witness gave a description of the man to investigators, but they were unable to identify him. Julie had many friends and at the time of her disappearance worked at the Red Caboose Day Care Center. Friends and relatives offered a reward for information and at one point consulted a psychic in hopes of locating her.

Apr 1981 – Dunn, WI
Charles Byrd was hiking along the Yahara River in the town of Dunn when he came across the skeletal remains of Julie. Because of the decomposed state in which she was found, investigators were unable to determine an exact cause of death.

Julie Speerschneider (20)
Charles Byrd (16)

Believed to be one of the Capital City Murders


Nov 24, 2010 – Madison, WI
A Capital Times investigation found that of 10 unsolved murders being investigated by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the Madison Police Department and University of Wisconsin Police Department dating back to the pre-DNA decades, at least four have been compromised by the mishandling of evidence. While police officials say recent advances such as bar coding and restricting access to evidence storage areas have improved their ability to keep track of items that could potentially tie a suspect to a crime, a lot of evidence over the years has, for various reasons, been destroyed or simply lost.

The skeletal remains in the Speerschneider case were disposed of in 1981.
A gold hoop earring related to the case was destroyed in October 1988.
In 1993, documents obtained by the Sheriff’s Office in 1981 related to the Speerschneider case were destroyed.
All that’s left are videotaped interviews.

The Department of Justice distributed playing cards in 2011 to inmates in to state prisons and county jails in the hope that an inmate with knowledge of a case would come forward. Each card featured a photo of a missing person or homicide victim and information about their case. Two versions of the cards: one of Milwaukee cases and one with cases from other parts of the state.