Rank #1: 1: Have you seen Johnny?
On Feb. 20, 1976, freshman John Zera disappeared from a high school in suburban Milwaukee. In the early days, John's family hoped for his safe return. Later, they prayed whoever was responsible for his disappearance would be brought to justice. Finally, they clung to hope that advances in technology or someone with a guilty conscience would someday offer an explanation of what happened to their Johnny. And why.
In this episode, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton looks at how the case began and what drew her to it.
Rank #2: 2: Where do we start?
Before John Zera, Hales Corners Detective Howard Hingiss had only handled one murder case. While he narrowed down the suspect list, with the help of the F.B.I. and other departments, he would never discover the identity of the murderer. Twenty-five years after his retirement, and almost 40 years after the crime, the question of who killed John remains unsolved.
Rank #3: 7: A new beginning
A new detective takes over the John Zera homicide investigation and discovers a serial killer with Wisconsin ties.
Rank #4: 3: A chilling discovery
In 2009, police investigating the 1976 homicide of John Zera catch a break when a swim coach is arrested for child molesting. A search of the man's condo reveals clues about John's case.
Rank #5: 4: Citizen detective
The day after John Zera's body was found, Daniel Acker was found standing over the crime scene in Whitnall Park. His alibi for the day of John's death was shaky, but police dismissed him. Acker would strike up a correspondence with the Zera family and start his own investigation into the case, pointing the finger at a mental patient at the facility where he worked.
Rank #6: 7: 'I'll see her in heaven'
Police investigate Edward Wayne Edwards in connection with Jefferson County’s unsolved deaths. Edwards once worked at the Concord House, where Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew disappeared from while attending a wedding reception. Edwards, a con man who wrote a book in the 1970s about his transformation from criminal to upstanding citizen, ultimately confesses to killing Hack, Drew and three other people. He denies killing Michelle. Jan comes to accept that she will never know what really happened to Michelle.
Rank #7: 5: What did we miss?
Two years after John Zera was murdered, an anonymous tip about a Franklin High substitute teacher with an unusual interest in boys' feet would generate a new prime suspect.
Rank #8: 6: Blinded by science
By 2009, Detective Kent Schoonover fears the chance to solve John Zera's murder has slipped away, in part because the eccentric medical examiner who did the autopsy made a mess of it.
Rank #9: 1: Bury the Dead
Father Alfred Kunz was murdered on the night of March 3, 1998. His throat was slit and his body was found in a hallway at St. Michael School in Dane the next morning. Kunz clung to the Latin Mass and the old ways of the Catholic church. His murder remains unsolved.
Rank #10: 7: A troubled history
Police investigate Teri Mueller’s husband, Joe, who has a long criminal record and whom police suspect may have been involved in the death of his son from his first marriage. His account of the events surrounding Michelle’s death don’t match Jan’s and the results of his polygraph are inconclusive, but police can never find the evidence to tie him to the crime.