On October 5, 2016, at approximately 12:15 a.m., a 911 call came into the Crawford County, WI Law Enforcement Center that a woman had hanged herself. Crawford County Sheriffs Department Deputies Kyle Mezera and Sergeant Phil Baumgartner, and City of Prairie du Chien Police officer Tony Berg, responded.
Officer Berg was first to arrive on scene. Officer Berg noted a female laying on the ground in the backyard of the residence located in the town of Bridgeport. Officer Berg noted a male subject kneeling near the head of the female. Officer Berg stated that as he approached, the male, subsequently identified as Jimmy D. McDaniel, looked up at him and, at that time, began what appeared to be CPR compressions on the female. Officer Berg told the defendant to back away from the female and to go into the residence. Officer Berg stated that he contacted emergency medical personnel to the scene. EMT's arrive and confirmed that the female was deceased. The victim was identified as Linda Klein.
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Officers observed the decedent to be positioned under a wooden “T” shaped structure designed to hold a bird-feeder. Officers observed a white extension cord with one end tied to the cross-piece of this “T” structured bird-feeder. The decedent was transported from the scene. The decedent was described as approx. 5’3” tall and weighing between 120 and 140 pounds.
Crawford County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Jaden McCullick arrived on scene. Lieutenant McCullick came up to this bird-feeder where the electrical cord was hanging, pulled down on one end, and the top “cross piece” completely pulled away and detached from the post portion with very little effort or force.
Deputy Mezera spoke to the defendant inside the residence. The defendant and Ms. Klein have had a relationship together since October, 2015. The defendant indicated that he was with Ms. Linda Klein all that day. The defendant gave a time-line of events which showed that at approx. 8:00 p.m., he and Ms. Llein were watching television in the basement portion of this residence. The defendant stated that he had gone into the bedroom and come out at approx. 8:45 p.m., the victim was not there.
The defendant stated that he went looking for Ms. Klein, first upstairs in the residence then outside. The defendant stated that he observed Ms. Klein partially suspended by her neck from the bird-feeder. The defendant described Ms. Klein as suspended from the waist-up from this cross piece, with her legs out to one side. The defendant stated that when he observed this, he lifted her up, slipped the electrical cord off her neck, laid her down, and ran to the house. The defendant stated that he pounded on the door until Ms. Klein’s sister, who also resides at this residence, came to the door. The defendant told her to call 911 as Ms. Klein had hanged herself. Ms. Llein’s sister then immediately called 911.
Since the 911 call came into the Dispatch Center at approx. 12:15 a.m., the defendant was asked as to his and Ms. Klein’s whereabouts and actions between 8:45 p.m., when he discovered her missing and began the search for her, and 12:15 a.m. when the 911 call came in. The defendant was alone with Ms. Klein from approx. 8:45 p.m. until the 911 call. The defendant was unable to provide this information.
Deputy Mezera states that after speaking with the defendant in the house, he informed the defendant that Ms. Klein was dead. Deputy Mezera stated that the defendant became emotional and yelling at Mr. Klein’s sisters, brother, and mother who were now at the residence. The defendant was removed from the residence and brought to the Law Enforcement Center.
Crawford County Sheriffs Dept. Lieutenant Ryan Fradette spoke again to the defendant. After speaking with the defendant, he was taken to the residence to get some personal items and clothes, and dropped off at the Holiday Motel, located in Prairie du Chien, at approx. 7:30 a.m., October 5, 2016.
Ms. Klien’s body was taken to the University Hospitals in Madison, WI, for an autopsy. The autopsy revealed injuries which were consistent with blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and face area. The pathologist stated that the cause of death was not asphyxiation , or death by hanging, but that the cause of death was the blunt force trauma to the head and face area and strangulation prior to the alleged hanging, and ruled the death a homicide. The pathologist further classified this as a “staged hanging” or a “staged suicide”.
Lt. Fradette stated that while in route to Madison for the autopsy, he received information that the above-named defendant was about to leave the state of Wisconsin. After learning of the results and finding of the autopsy, Lt. Fradette contacted the city of Prairie du Chien Police Dept. with this information and the defendant was apprehended at approx. 1:30 p.m. October 6, 2016 at the America Inn Hotel awaiting transportation to La Crosse, WI, so he could catch his flight to the state of Georgia.