Victims of double homicide in Green Bay identified by authorities

Police identify victims, are seeking more information from public
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 3:21 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two women found stabbed to death in a Green Bay duplex have been identified as Rhonda Cegelski, 58, of Green Bay, and Paula O’Connor, 53, of Bellevue.

GoFundMe pages have been set up for Cegelski and O’Connor.

CLICK HERE for Rhonda Cegelski GoFundMe.

CLICK HERE for Paula O’Connor GoFundMe.

“Rhonda would light up any room with her smile and vibrant personality. She had a heart of gold and would always be there when others needed it. Rhonda was a hairstylist at Sei Bella Salon in Green Bay, where she had many devoted clients that felt more like friends, and some even family. This is also where her best friend, Paula, worked. They spent so much time together and were constantly laughing. Rhonda and Paula were the life of the party; and always dancing!”

“She [Paula] loved her work as a hairstylist, loved her family and adored visiting her Grandchildren Terry Rose, Liberty and Jedaiah. Unfortunately, from what we know, Paula did not have life insurance. I am sure she would have eventually gotten it, but she had only just turned 53 and had so many plans on how she was going to spend the rest of her life. The money funded on here would pay for her funeral and burial. It would mean so much to us if you could help,” reads the GoFundMe page for Paula O’Connor.

Richard Sotka, 48, has been charged with two counts of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for the murders of Cegelski and O’Connor.

Sotka is being held at the Mississippi County Detention Center in Arkansas while awaiting extradition back to Wisconsin.

As we’ve reported, police found the bodies Sunday at a duplex on the 1600 block of Elkay Lane on the city’s east side after receiving a 911 call from a friend of one of the victims. Police were called to the scene at about 11:15 a.m.

Autopsies found the victims had been stabbed to death.

A witness told investigators that Richard Sotka had been dating one of the victims. Detectives identified Sotka as a person of interest in the case. They learned Sotka had open cases out of Oconto County and an active restraining order against him. One of the cases is for stalking. Part of the bond conditions in the Oconto County stalking case includes wearing an electronic monitoring device that confirms Sotka’s location. He was being monitored by a company called ADL Monitoring Solutions.

ADL pulled up GPS location records for Sotka and found that the device had been cut off and last pinged on the exit from Interstate 41 southbound and the Freedom Road off-ramp in De Pere. Investigators found the device in a ditch and collected it as evidence.

Officers were able to track Sotka through the onboard data system on his vehicle. They informed authorities that Sotka was in Arkansas. He was arrested during a traffic stop and taken to Mississippi County Detention Center.

Green Bay detectives traveled to Arkansas to interview Sotka at the jail. Detectives asked Sotka if he was ready to explain what happened and he agreed to speak, according to the complaint.

Sotka told investigators that he had recently moved in with his girlfriend at the Elkay Lane duplex. He spoke about the events that led up to the stabbing and that he had become jealous of his girlfriend and her friend and mentioned feeling “humiliated” by them.

Sotka stated his girlfriend asked him to get out of the house and “he just snapped.”

Sotka admitted to being drunk at the time of the killings and that he had taken two Adderall that day.

“I’m guilty of killing these girls but I’m not guilty of what they said I did in Oconto County,” Sotka said.

Sotka denied the stalking allegations against him in Oconto County, but he admitted to detectives that he has a history of violence against women.

“He shared with us that twenty-one years ago a female and him were in a relationship and he snapped in a similar way,” reads the criminal complaint. “He said he hurt her bad and that he went to prison for that. Later in the interview he said he had broken her leg, fractured her skull, and knocked out several teeth during that incident.”

Officers asked him where he was heading when he was arrested in Arkansas.

“He said one of them asked him where he was going and he told them he just had to take a ride because he knew this was his last little bit of freedom before he was caught. He said he knew these were going to be his last days to see anything,” reads the complaint.