Break in cold case gives hope to missing woman's daughter
A break in a 43-year-old cold case in Sturgeon Bay is giving hope to the hundreds of people who have friends or family who've gone missing in Wisconsin.
More than 200 people are listed as missing in Wisconsin. One of those missing people is Carol Jean Pierce. She disappeared from Sturgeon Bay in 1975 and has never been found. On Thursday, Pierce's husband, Richard, was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.
The progress made in the Pierce case is a comfort for Marsha Loritz of Bellevue. Marsha's mother,
disappeared from 5118 Kunesh Road in Pittsfield on April 25, 2013. Prokopovitz, who was 60 at the time of her disappearance, left behind her purse, ID, money and cell phone.
In May of 2015, Target 2 Investigates learned state and local officials conducted a search of the rental home shared by Prokopovitz and her husband, James, as well as all buildings on the property.
To get the search warrant granted, investigators wrote in documents that there is "reasonable inference that Prokopovitz is a victim of foul play such as a homicide and/or kidnapping."
They seized hard drives, a cell phone, financial records and swabs of blood from the floors in a bedroom, kitchen, hallway and a pillow. The sheriff's office did not provide comment on the search to Target 2 Investigates.
Marsha Loritz was stunned when an alert announcing an arrest in the Pierce case came over her phone.
"That just shows you can never, ever give up," Loritz says. "My breath caught. It felt like I couldn't breathe. Oh my gosh!"
Marsha says, "And to think that after so long, an answer could still come. It just brings so much hope."
Marsha has held on to the hope for nearly six years since the disappearance of her mother, Victoria. As the months and years pass, it grows harder for Marsha to believe she'll ever truly know what happened to her mom.
"I never wanted to be here one year or six months, and here we are, still here," Marsha says. "And I'm not giving up hope. That lady got answers."
Marsha Loritz has become a voice for the missing. She formed the non-profit organization Wisconsin Missing Persons Advocacy Inc to provide support to families of the missing.
She doesn't personally know all of the missing or their families, but they share the same heartache -- and the same hope.
"The fact that the police never gave up just is amazing," Marsha says. "It's amazing that you know, they really do care about our families."
There is a $17,000 reward for information leading to answers in the Victoria Prokopovitz case. If you have any information, contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Investigative Division at (920) 448-4230.
Marsha Loritz will be at the Rockin' the Path to Hope benefit concert Friday evening at Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. The concert features music from L.A. Guns, Janet Gardner of Vixen, KrashKarma, and Accoustic Mayhem.
The event raises money for Underground Children's Path to Hope. It's an organization for missing children and sex trafficking prevention.