A woman and her young adult son are charged in the murder of their husband and father in the family’s Twin Cities home more than seven years ago and dumping his body off a western Wisconsin road, where it remained undetected as the years went by.
Connie L. Herbst, 62, and Austin J. Herbst, 26, both of New Prague, each were charged Wednesday in Scott County District Court with aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder in connection with the death of Gary A. Herbst in 2013, whose bullet-punctured skull was sniffed out in the woods by a dog in December 2017 south of Barron and brought back to its owner’s home.
The rest of the skeletal remains were soon located by Barron County sheriff’s deputies, and it took another 2½ years before authorities identified him in June 2020 thanks in large part to the DNA Doe Project, a volunteer organization based in California that helps law enforcement solve especially challenging “Jane and John Doe” mysteries around the country.
Once investigators had a name associated with the bones, they spent up until this week gathering enough evidence to charge Gary Herbst’s wife and their son, who was 19 years old at the time he allegedly participated in the death of his father and the discarding of his body roughly 125 miles to the northeast from the Elko New Market home where they lived at the time.
The charges against the mother and son lay out numerous incriminating details surrounding Gary Herbst’s death and the body’s discovery, but they fail to say who fired the fatal shot at close range into his head or address a clear motive for the killing. The two were charged by summons and are not yet in jail.
The defendants did say to investigators that 57-year-old Gary Herbst was verbally and physically abusive to both of them, in particular to Connie Herbst, the charges read.
Woman, adult son charged in murder of father in family’s Twin Cities home more than 7 years ago
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