Authorities seek info in decades-old case of missing Kenosha man

Authorities are seeking information on a decade-old missing Kenosha man case

Officials recently announced that in 1978 remains of Dennis Regan McConn, who went missing in Kenosha at age 29, were found.

For years, a John Doe cold case went unnoticed in a sheriff’s evidence room in western Wisconsin. Years after authorities took another look and, with the help of genealogists, came up with a name.

Now, Jackson County investigators need help locating the person responsible for killing a Kenosha man decades ago before the answers are lost in time.

It had been a few years since a sergeant from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office went into the evidence room to take stock of what was standing around. In one corner he found a box that was collecting dust.

“We hope there is someone else out there who might be able to give us the next link or point we connect in the near future,” said Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera.

The points in history are from decades. It was on August 15, 1978 when a crew of loggers came across human remains about eight miles east of Millston in Knapp Township, Jackson County.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

A skull, parts of a jawbone, vertebrae and an earring were found about 100 meters from the road – what it looks like, a murder.

The case would go cold in the evidence room by that fateful day.

“We have to see what evidence we had. We have to locate the files, which we did,” said Waldera.

Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera

Waldera said he enlisted the help of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and sent the remains to try to put a face on her. On May 1, 2014, information for missing and unidentified people was entered into a national database.

It wasn’t long, however, before forensic genealogists from the DNA Doe project found a head start.

“I think once we were able to trace the DNA we needed for one opportunity, we needed something else to work with,” said Waldera.

Last week, Waldera and the DOJ announced that the remains were Dennis Regan McConn, who went missing in Kenosha when he was 29. He was born in DeKalb, Illinois, where he attended DeKalb High School.

“We’re connecting the dots. And we’re further than before,” said Waldera.

Dennis McConn, pictured in a 1966 DeKalb High School yearbook

Waldera hopes that the suitcase won’t end up on the shelf again and collect dust.

Anyone with information on why McConn would have been in Jackson County, or any other information regarding the case, is encouraged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s office.

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