Search warrant suggests foul play in Prokopovitz case
BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Target 2 Investigates has learned exclusive new information in the search for missing Brown County woman Victoria Prokopovitz.
Suspecting foul play, the State Crime Lab, along with investigators from the Brown County Sheriff's Office, asked for and were granted a new search warrant in the case.
The warrant was executed last week at the home where Prokopovitz was last seen. She disappeared from her Pittsfield home on April 25th, 2013, leaving behind her cell phone, purse and cigarettes. Her husband reported her missing the next day.
Both state and local authorities searched the home Prokopovitz rented with her husband, James, last Wednesday. To Action 2 News’ knowledge, it is the first time that they've searched the Pittsfield property to this extent.
In order to receive legal permission to search the property on Kunesh Road, investigators had to lay out their case in a search warrant. The final page spells out clearly that authorities believe "... there is a reasonable inference that Victoria Prokopovitz... is a victim of foul play such as homicide and/or kidnapping."
Brown County Sheriff's investigators, along with the State Crime Lab, spent much of the day on April 29th searching both inside and outside all the buildings on the Kunesh Road property. According to the warrant, investigators seized 38 items including:
12 hard drives
Prokopovitz's cell phone
"female sexually explicit photographs"
a picture of a man pointing a handgun at the camera
an envelope self-addressed to Prokopovitz's son Wesley Edges who still lives at the Kunesh Road property
a roll of tape
swabs of blood from the floors in a bedroom, kitchen, hallway and a pillow. The amount of blood found is not specified.
The warrant does not say what prompted the search now. The sheriff's office didn't want to comment on the case as it is still ongoing.
Prokopovitz's daughter, Marsha Loritz, hopes this is the first step in finally finding her mother.
"I just want an answer because I don't want to go on living like this forever. That would be a nightmare," said Loritz.
Investigators tell Target 2, Prokopovitz's disappearance is still considered a missing persons case until they know otherwise. The warrant shows she had attempted suicide many years ago and that's what James Prokopovitz told investigators he believed had happened.
Seeing the details and words "foul play" on paper are especially difficult for Loritz.
"It's a concern of ours, but to hear that and to know that they're following up on that could possibly be the case, is reassuring, but it's very difficult to actually hear it or say it out loud," said Loritz. "You can think it in your head or think a million things in your head, but to actually know that that could possibly be the outcome is really scary."
This returned search warrant also gives us new insight into Victoria's past.
James Prokopovitz told authorities he had last seen Victoria on a Thursday night.
She wasn't there when he woke up for work Friday morning around 4:00, he searched but couldn't find her, and went to work.
He reported her missing when he got home that afternoon.
The warrant shows James believes Victoria committed suicide, because she'd attempted it once many years ago.
"Her kids meant everything to her so this is very unlike her, so I can't help but think that it's, you know, not a good thing," says Loritz.
The warrant also reveals other members of the family said James was "...unhappy about Victoria's medical bills..."
Action 2 News spoke with James Prokopovitz by phone today. He says he willingly allowed investigators to search his property and said he would have let them do so without a warrant. He didn't want to comment any further.
"This has totally turned our life upside down for two years, and it won't go away until we get answers," adds Loritz.
There is still an $11,000 reward for information leading to Prokopovitz. Tips can be made anonymously through Crime Stoppers.