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Charges: Prescott woman shot boyfriend, placed him in box, drove body out of state

Rose Marie Kuehni, a Prescott resident, was arrested Tuesday on suspicious of second degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

A Prescott woman shot her boyfriend at their home last month, left his body in a shed for four days, then drove to Illinois, where she had another man take a box containing the body, according to charges filed Friday in Pierce County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors charged Rose Marie Kuehni, 44, with one count of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of hiding a corpse. She is accused of killing Douglas L. Bailey, 51, whose body was found Tuesday in a cardboard box off the side of a road in a remote portion of Kentucky.

Kuehni appeared in court Friday, where cash bail was set at $100,000. She returns to court Dec. 18 for a preliminary hearing.

According to a criminal complaint:

Detectives from Illinois began interviewing Kuehni on Monday following a multi-day search for Bailey. Members of Bailey’s family reported he never arrived at their house for Thanksgiving.

Kuehni had become upset with investigators during their initial talks with her and had changed her story about Bailey’s whereabouts, authorities noted.

After first meeting with Illinois investigators -- to whom she indicated she had put Bailey in a box and moved him -- Kuehni elaborated on the incident with a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office investigator.

She told the investigator she shot Bailey Sunday, Nov. 22, with a .20-gauge shotgun twice in a bedroom at the 1373 Ash St. home they shared.

Kuehni told the investigator “he was yelling that he was going to rape me again” and that she grabbed the gun, which was in her dressing room.

“I hardly had enough time to pull it up and I fired it … ” Kuehni said in the interview, noting that Bailey was kneeling on an upstairs bed at the time of the shooting.

Later in the interview, Kuehni described how Bailey had been threatening her since 2012 after suspecting her of cheating on him. The incidents involved three weeks of torture, Kuehni told investigators.

She said she wasn’t sure what time of day it was when the shooting occurred -- only that it was dark out and earlier than 11:30 p.m.

Kuehni, an adjunct professor of construction management with the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education, drew detailed diagrams of the house and where the shooting occurred.

The first shot “didn’t hardly do anything,” prompting Bailey to say, “What the F or what the hell,” she told the investigator.

“Then I fired again because I thought he was coming after me,” Kuehni said, who told the investigator she was naked at the time, firing about 2 feet away from Bailey.

She put clothes on after sitting in the room for an extended period of time with Bailey, who she said appeared lifeless.

Kuehni wrapped Bailey in a sheet “because she didn’t want to look at him,” she said. After taping up the coverings, she carried him downstairs before going out to their garage, where she found a box for Christmas wreaths.

Kuehni said she set Bailey in a wheel barrow and placed him in the box, which measured about 2 feet by 2 feet.

Next, Kuehni moved him to a shed on the property until Thanksgiving morning -- Thursday, Nov. 26.

On Thanksgiving morning -- about 6 or 7 a.m., she said, noting that it was still dark -- Kuehni backed her truck up to where the box was in the shed and “just hoisted it in there.”

She said she placed Bailey’s belongings in a second box that was also loaded into the truck.

Kuehni later made statements about trying to fix something. The investigator asked what she meant.

“Once something is done you can’t fix it and I tried to clean it up but you can’t clean it up,” Kuehni replied.

Kuehni said she cleaned up blood splatter in the bedroom with bleach water. She said she placed the cleaning materials in the second box containing Bailey’s clothes, boots and wallet.

At some point, Kuehni contacted a man she said she knew from Mankato, Minn., who had told her he’d help her if she ever needed it.

She identified that man as Clarence Hicks, a 60-year-old Harrodsburg, Ky., man. Kuehni said she didn’t tell Hicks what was in the box and that he wasn’t curious what it contained.

Investigators later learned Kuehni met up with Hicks later on Thanksgiving Day at a gas station on Interstate 74 in Illinois. They slid the boxes from her truck into Hicks’, Kuehni said.

She threw Bailey’s cellphone out the window of her truck on Highway 74, she said. The man who picked up the boxes said the exchange happened in Bloomington, Ill.

On Tuesday, authorities in Georgia -- after being alerted by Pierce County authorities -- stopped Hicks in Catoosa County.

Hicks, described as cooperative with authorities, described where he had dumped the boxes: a remote area in the mountainous area of Pineville, Ky. Hicks said he “backed the truck up to the guard rail and pushed the boxes over the side.”

He estimated one weighed about 100 pounds, the other about 50 pounds. They were wrapped in a tarp and duct tape, Hicks said.

Hicks told authorities he and Kuehni had been involved sexually after first meeting at a Mankato Walmart. They had met in different parts of the country “to meet, have sex and then leave,” the complaint states.

Authorities found the boxes -- found with wrappings as described by Hicks --Tuesday afternoon about 100 yards down the side of a mountain. Blood was seen coming from one box before it was opened.

Hicks was released after being considered by Pierce County authorities as a material witness.

A search of Hicks’ truck revealed suspected blood on a passenger floor mat. Georgia investigators also noted that the backseats of his truck were moved down “and it could be possible that something had been transported in the back seat,” though no blood was found there.

Kentucky State Police opened the box later Tuesday and found Bailey’s body inside covered with garbage that included a Ptacek’s IGA bag.

The other box contained the items Kuehni had described -- a black duffle bag, a Carhart jacket, boots, shirt and jeans.

An autopsy conducted on Bailey’s body revealed two gunshot wounds to his upper body

Kuehni said she took the gun to her sister’s house on County Road J in rural Ellsworth on the weekend after Thanksgiving. She said she dismantled it, then hid the stock portion in a box in the garage there and dumped the barrel in a garbage can there.

Asked by the investigator why she disposed of the barrel, Kuehni replied, “I guess I thought if I did that it didn’t happen.”

Originally published Thursday, Dec. 10

A missing man was murdered in Prescott and transported to Kentucky where his body was later discovered in a box, according to details released Thursday by Illinois authorities.

The information was released by the Peoria (Ill.) County Sheriff’s Office, which states authorities there turned over the case to Wisconsin investigators after concluding the death of Prescott resident Douglas L. Bailey did not occur in Illinois.

"Through further investigation, it was revealed that Bailey was murdered in Prescott, Wis., and transported to Bell County, Ky., where his body was recovered on a rural road in a box," according to a Peoria County Sheriff's Office news release.

Prescott police on Wednesday identified the deceased man as 51-year-old Bailey. He was reported missing Nov. 30 to the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois.

According to a plea posted Dec. 1 on the Twisted Truckers Facebook page, Bailey was reported missing by his sister after not showing up for Thanksgiving dinner at a relative's home in Peoria. The post said Bailey was last seen walking down Highway 74 between Galesburg and Peoria in Illinois. 

Prescott police, in a press release Wednesday afternoon, reported a person of interest has been detained in the case. Police confirmed that person is being held at Pierce County Jail, in connection with the missing person report.

According to the Pierce County Jail roster, Prescott resident Rose Marie Kuehni, 44, was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

As of Thursday morning, no formal charges had been filed in the case. Kuehni, listed by the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education as a faculty member in its construction management department, remained in Pierce County Jail Thursday morning.

The release states “The Prescott Police Department and Pierce County District Attorney’s Office are waiting . . .  for the conclusion of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.”

The Associated Press reported an autopsy on Bailey was to be performed Wednesday.

A second person sought for information in the case was apprehended on Tuesday in Catoosa County, Ga.

According to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers there received a call Tuesday about a man there wanted for questioning in a Prescott homicide.

Catoosa County deputies later located and detained Clarence Michael Hicks, 60, of Harrodsburg, Ky. Deputies there interviewed Hicks at the request of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office “about his possible involvement in the concealment of a murder,” according to a news release.

Hicks’ vehicle was processed for evidence by Georgia authorities, the release states, which goes on to note that the evidence was being turned over to Wisconsin investigators.

Hicks and his vehicle were later released at the request of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the release states.

Bailey’s body was discovered Tuesday after Kentucky State Police received information from authorities in Wisconsin and Georgia about a homicide that occurred in Wisconsin. Information was passed along about the location of a body in Bell County, Ky.

Kentucky troopers found two large boxes over a roadside embankment in Bell County. One of the boxes contained the body later identified as Bailey’s.

Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke said his department is working with the following agencies: Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Peoria (Ill.) County Sheriff’s Department, Catoosa (Ga.) County Sheriff’s Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Commonwealth of Kentucky - Medical Examiner’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Justice Mobile Crime Lab Unit, Hamilton (Tenn.) County Sheriff’s Department, Fort Oglethorpe (Ga.) Police Department and Kentucky State Police.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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