The Murder Of Father Alfred Kunz

March 4th, 1998, the murder of Father Alfred Kunz shocks Wisconsin.

Just a few miles west of I-39/I-90 and a handful of miles north of the city of Madison, sits the small farming community of Dane. Not much happens in Dane. Just the usual activities of a small central Wisconsin farm town. That all changed on March 4, 1998, when the quiet and peaceful village of Dane was turned on its ear. That was the day that Dane’s long-time Catholic priest, Father Alfred Kunz, was found murdered in his church.

You’ll find the usual small town establishments in Dane. The lone gas station that serves the village. The handful of taverns that are the watering holes for the local townspeople and farmers. The Police and Fire Departments that keep a watchful eye over the small population of around 800 citizens. If you drive past the local gas station and up the hill on Military Road, you will find St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Established in 1876, the church has been a cornerstone of Dane for over a hundred years.

Father Alfred Kunz

Father Alfred Kunz, born 1930, Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Known by his parishioners as Father Al, he became pastor of St. Michael’s in 1967. He remained there for 31 years until his death. The priest was well regarded among his parishioners. He was known not to take a salary, didn’t drive fancy car, and his personal belongings were few.

Father Alfred Kunz

Father Alfred Kunz (photo by Wikicommons)

Father Al, also a canon lawyer, served as judicial Vicar and worked in the Madison diocese under Bishop Cletus O’Donnell. He gave a traditional Latin mass three times a week for the schoolchildren in addition to his English language mass. His Sunday Latin mass was popular. Devoted worshipers traveled to St. Michael’s to partake in this centuries old tradition. By all accounts Father Kunz was a conservative Roman Catholic priest who held onto tradition. He also did whatever he could to keep his tiny parish going.

The murder of Father Kunz

Father Al also had his own radio show “Our Catholic Family.” He taped a show in Madison on the Eucharist with the Rev. Charles Fiore, Kunz’s friend from nearby Lodi, the night before he was found. After the taping, Fiore drove Kunz back to the parish school where Kunz had a modest apartment around 10 P.M.. Reportedly, there was a phone call with Kunz and another priest at about 10:30 P.M. that night. This is would be the last time anyone spoke to the 67-year-old Catholic priest before his murder.

He was found by a teacher for the parish school at approximately 7 a.m., March 4, 1998. Kunz was laying in a pool of his own blood, in a hallway near the door to the Father’s living quarters, at the foot of a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. A victim of having his throat slit. There were no signs of forced entry and all the doors were locked.

The rumors and suspicions

If you spend any time in and around Dane you’ll eventually hear plenty of rumors, suspicions, and facts. The area is rife with stories of sexual affairs with parishioners. These rumors include both males and females. There is no documented evidence Father Kunz committed any sexual improprieties.

Many suspect transients coming off of nearby I-90/I-39 were responsible for the murder.

Demons and cults

Fellow priest and friend of Kunz, Malachi Martin, suspected Luciferians were responsible. Rumors that Father Kunz was stabbed once for each year of his life as part of a Satanist ritual are unsubstantiated. Any connection between the murder of Father Kunz with any Satanists or cults has never been officially established.

I have personally heard rumors from local residents that his genitalia was cut off and stuffed in his mouth. This is also very unsubstantiated. Rumors like this, along with all the others, should be taken with a grain of salt.

One of the strangest reports is the Dane County Sheriff’s Department investigated a calf mutilation. This was called in by a local farmer the day before Father Kunz was found dead.

Exorcisms and pedophillia

Kunz also performed exorcisms. This raised suspicions that his murder was related to these activities. Father Kunz was in fact scheduled the day he was found dead to meet with a woman to discuss performing an exorcism.

Suspicions also arose that Father Kunz was killed to prevent him from exposing sexual abusers and to send a message to others to keep quiet about pedophillia within the Catholic Church. The Rev. Charles Fiore, with the aid of Kunz, prepared a dossier on priest pedophillia. The dossier was delivered by Monsignor Dziwisz, secretary to Pope John Paul, to the Pope. Allegedly, the dossier was ignored by the Catholic hierarchy. As far-fetched as these suspicions seem, the Rev. Ryan Erickson, of Hudson Wisconsin, murdered two men in an attempt to keep his sexual abuse of teenage boys from being exposed in 2002.

The investigation

Investigators believe that the killer of Father Kunz knew him and was familiar with Dane. Detective Kevin Hughes, of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, revealed that “the particular motive is unknown but may be related to jealousy, revenge, betrayal, or any other issue which is personal to the killer.” Detective Hughes also said “The motives are all over the place, anything from jealousy, power and control to betrayal and fear of exposure.”

The Dane County Sheriff’s Department has gone on record saying they have a prime suspect. This individual’s motives are common but they do not have enough evidence to charge him. The suspect moved out of the area immediately after Kunz’s murder. Investigators know of his whereabouts and activities.

The teacher who found Kunz’s body was also suspected. It appeared that Kunz fought with his killer. The teacher had no wounds indicating a fight nor did he exhibit any suspicious behavior. He was eventually cleared.

The Questions remain

Was Father Kunz murdered by a jealous parishioner? A pedophile within the Catholic Church who feared exposure? Satanists looking for retribution? The Dane County Sheriff’s Department have made it clear this is not a cold case in their investigations are ongoing.

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