Complaint: Two charged in Prokopovitz case used third party to share messages

Brown County Jail photos
Brown County Jail photos(WBAY)
Published: Jul. 26, 2019 at 11:32 AM CDT
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A woman charged in connection to the Victoria Prokopovitz death investigation is now facing a new felony charge for allegedly communicating with her jailed boyfriend through a back channel.

On July 25, a Felony Bail Jumping charge was filed against Kathryn M. Friday, 67. She's accused of using a third party to communicate with James Prokopovitz as he faces a possible trial for the murder of his wife, Victoria.

Kathy Friday and James Prokopovitz were arrested May 10, 2019. The arrests came six years after Victoria Prokopovitz disappeared from the Pittsfield home she shared with James.

After his arrest, James Prokopovitz was charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Resisting or Obstructing an Officer, and Perjury.

Kathy Friday was charged with two counts of Perjury and one count of Resisting or Obstructing for allegedly lying during a "John Doe" hearing regarding the disappearance of Victoria Prokopovitz.

The new Felony Bail Jumping charge filed Thursday alleges Kathy Friday was intentionally failing to comply with the terms of her bond in the Perjury and Obstructing case.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News states that Kathy and James were using James' sister to share messages. That defies a judge's order that James and Kathy have no communication.

The complaint details several calls made by James Prokopovitz from the jail. Jail calls are recorded.

On June 1, James Prokopovitz asked his sister to get in touch with Kathy and relay a message about getting money out of the bank. James told his sister to instruct Kathy to withdraw money from his 401K.

On June 2, James Prokopovitz again spoke with his sister. The sister stated that Kathy was able to transfer money out of the 401K. James told his sister to tell Kathy that "he still loves her a whole bunches," according to the complaint.

On June 5, James spoke with his sister again. She relayed some information from Kathy regarding financial matters.

On June 17, the Brown County Sheriff's Office was notified of an outgoing piece of mail from James Prokopovitz. He had addressed it to his sister. The letter contained information for Kathy Friday to stop Required Minimum Distributions on his retirement plan. Prokopovitz included the plan number for Kathy.

In a separate letter, James asked his sister to have Kathy write to him, but send the letter through the sister.

On June 19, an investigator reviewed a recorded a jail call in which James again discussed with his sister the financial situation with Kathy. The sister reminded him that calls were recorded, but James continued to discuss financial plans. He said he wanted Kathy to take money out for "herself and the kitties."

On July 7, the investigator reviewed another call between James and his sister. James instructed the sister to tell Kathy to send her money. He told her to "obtain an account number from Kathy and additionally obtain a money order for $1,000 to send to the attorney."

On July 23, an investigator with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation met with James' sister at her home. She admitted that she was the third party verbal back channel between James and Kathy, according to the complaint.

She said Kathy Friday had asked her to communicate certain personal things to James. "Kathy was also having difficulties accessing some of James' funds so I relayed messages between James and Kathy to assist James in accessing his money so that he had money for an attorney," reads the sister's statement.

She agreed to stop facilitating third party communications between James and Kathy.


It was April 25, 2013 when Victoria Prokopovitz disappeared from the home she shared with James on Kunesh Road in Pittsfield.

On April 26, 2013, James Prokopovitz called the Brown County Sheriff's Office to report his wife missing. He told them that she suffered from depression and he was afraid that she had taken her own life somewhere near the home. James told investigators that he saw his wife at 10 p.m. the night before. He said that's the time he went to bed.

James Prokopvotiz said once he believed her to be missing, he "panicked" and went out searching for his wife. He said Victoria had left behind her cell phone, cigarettes, purse and identification.

James Prokopovitz went to work that day, April 26, but never told his co-workers that his wife was missing, according to a criminal complaint. Co-workers said he acted no differently than usual.

The Prokopovitz house is located on a rural farm property with numerous outbuildings. A K-9 searched the property to no avail. There were no shoe prints in the soil, meaning Victoria could not have walked from her home the night of her disappearance.

There have been numerous searches over the years, but Victoria Prokopovitz's body has never been found.

Family and friends have been part of those searches. They've said James never helped and "became hostile at times."

Victoria's daughter, Marsha, recalled a time that James said of Victoria, "She is dead. She is nowhere around here. She is never coming back."

Family members told investigators about their increasing suspicion that James Prokopovitz was involved in their mother's disappearance. James continued to make comments that Victoria was gone and they were "wasting their time" searching for her.

Just weeks after Victoria disappeared, James announced that he had started a romantic relationship with an old girlfriend named Kathy Friday. Investigators wondered if the relationship was part of the motive behind Victoria's disappearance. One witness said James had told Kathy that he knew his wife was dead. A witness said Kathy got a second phone for the purpose of communicating with James.

Records found that James and Victoria had some financial issues, including unpaid medical bills and a foreclosure. Investigators found that James had taken Victoria off his family medical and dental insurance on August 28, 2013--a few months after Victoria went missing. He converted his insurance from family to individual.

James admitted that he had access to a sludge pond between his home and his place of work. The sludge pond contains industrial waste and "products that are "unstable" in nature. It would be very hard to search.

During the May 8 John Doe hearing, James Prokopovitz said that he didn't know where Victoria's body was and "if I could s--t my wife's body out in order to protect Kathy [Friday], I would."

Investigators say James Prokopovitz's story changed over the years. Initially, he spoke of his "panicked" search for Victoria after her disappearance. He recalled returning home after the search and having a conversation with his stepson.

During the May 8 John Doe hearing, Prokopovitz said that he had not returned home after his search and that he went on to work.

Prokopovitz initially said he went to sleep at about 10 p.m. on the night Victoria disappeared. However, his bed was "meticulously made and did not appear slept in," according to investigators. During the May 8 hearing, he told investigators that he changed his story and said he had slept in his recliner in the living room.

During John Doe, investigators questioned James about the route he said he took during his panicked search for Victoria. Surveillance video from a gas station on his search route did not show James' vehicle passing during that time.

James also claimed he had made several calls to Victoria's phone after her disappearance. Phone records show that didn't happen.

James' claims that Victoria had tried several times to take her own life were not documented or validated by the investigation.

After the John Doe hearing, Prokopovitz was taken to the Brown County Sheriff's Office for an interview. That's when he said that he had lied under oath, and had been lying for years.

He said he was trying to protect his relationship with Kathy Friday.

"I did not kill my wife Vicki but I did lie to the police for years in connection with the investigation surrounding her disappearance. Ultimately, I lied in court today as well while I was under oath. I understand that lying to the police and the court was the wrong and illegal thing to do but I did not kill my wife. I lied because Kathy and I were trying to keep our stories straight."

James also walked back a prior confession to killing Victoria. "When I told Sgt. Aronstein during the interview that I killed her, that was only due to my desperation as I did not kill her ... I did not dispose of my wife in the sludge ponds."

Over the years, there has been no trace of Victoria Prokopovitz suggesting she would be living another life in another location. She has filled no prescriptions. She has not traveled outside of the country. She has not checked into any hospitals or mental health facilities. She has not accessed her bank account.

Victoria was known to have a bad leg, and it was "unlikely she would have been physically able to walk very far from" her home, investigators say.

Following the John Doe hearing and interview, James Prokopovitz and Kathy Friday were taken into custody.

James Prokopovitz is being held on a $2 million cash bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Kathy Friday's final pre-trial in the Perjury case is Sept. 5.