63° F

Cold case tipster named, not suspect in investigation

Published On: Aug 14 2013 08:17:57 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 14 2013 08:33:04 PM CDT
janesville cold case weckler

Officials released the name of the man who triggered the recent search for Georgia Jean Weckler in Janesville.

Investigators say 82-year-old Norman Weitzel of Edgerton led them to a vacant lot in Janesville, where Weitzel believed the missing girl might be buried.

After a search, no remains were found and the trail for clues went cold again. Weitzel declined to go on camera but tells News 3 he wanted to help and has nothing to hide. He also said he is pleased the sheriff's office took his tip seriously and decided to dig.

A desire to help motivated Weitzel to contact the Rock County Sheriff's Office last month. He didn't want a future development in the area to bury any chance of finding clues as to what happened to the 8-year-old back in 1947.

"He has had this information for most of his life and he doesn't want to die not knowing that it wasn't followed up on," said Capt. Todd Christiansen with the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

Weitzel told officials he and a friend were picking berries in the area when they discovered what they believed to be a grave.

"He didn't see what was put in it, had no idea what was put in it according to our interviews with him. Our detectives believe he was very forthcoming,” said Christiansen.

K9s came to the scene and detected the scent of human remains, which added credibility to Weitzel's 66-year-old story.

For one week, all eyes were on Wright and Rotamer roads. Weitzel even came to the scene to help, but the dig was unsuccessful.

"His belief is something's still there, that we possibly didn't dig in the right areas,” said Christiansen.

Investigators said Weitzel told them he had come forward in the past but they couldn't find a record of it.

Christiansen said Weitzel is not a suspect.

"I'm not sure he'll be totally satisfied in his own mind that she's not there,” said Christiansen.

Christiansen said the friend that Weitzel was picking berries with that day died in 1988.

The case is being handed back over to detectives in Jefferson County.

  • American flag hanging down

    Memorial Day by the numbers

    Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those who've died in service to the country while also being widely considered the unofficial start to summer for many Americans. Take a look at the numbers behind the holiday.

  • American flag, soldier's hat, Memorial Day, Veterans Day

    Karen Barefoot/SXC

    Memorial Day: A history in pictures

    As you wrap up the holiday weekend, look back at the history of Memorial Day through old and new images.

  • Misconceptions - Underemployed

    Misconceptions about life after college

    Accenture surveyed around 1,000 student who are newly entering the job market for 2016, in addition to those who graduated within the last two years, Yahoo News reports.

    This year overall is looking bright for the class of 2016, but there is data that shows trends new grads shouldn't overlook.