‘Somebody out there knows who this person is’: Police ask for help finding Devil’s Lake killer

BARABOO, Wis. — The Sauk County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek tips regarding the fatal stabbing of a 24-year-old man at Devil’s Lake State Park last month.

Authorities believe John Craig Schmutzer, 24, of Wauwatosa, was attacked by a stranger while hiking alone at the park on Oct. 14. His body was found around 11:30 a.m. along the Grottos Trail, which is located on the south side of the park near the east bluff.

Detectives are investigating this death as a homicide. No arrests had been made as of Wednesday.

“Somebody out there knows who this person is, or they suspect who this person is,” said Lt. Chris Zunker. “We need their information, we need them to call us.”

Detectives stressed the importance of community tips Wednesday afternoon while providing an update on the case.

“Crimes like these are very often solved with community members who report critical information to law enforcement,” Sauk County Sheriff Chip Miester said.

Authorities are asking anyone who visited the park on or around Oct. 14 to recall and report any unusual activity. They are want the public to share any extreme behavior changes in friends or family members. They provided some examples of what to look for during Wednesday’s media briefing.

“What we want to get out there is that somebody out there knows who or at least suspects who this person is,” said Lt. Christopher Zunker with the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office.

Tips can be sent anonymously to the Sauk County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-847-7285.

“We still have a lot of resources being thrown at this case and will continue to do so,” Zunker said. “We are not going to give up on this case.”

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Friends and family describe Schmutzer as an intelligent and thoughtful person who had a “zest for life.”

He was a 2014 graduate of UW-Madison and was currently working in the financial field in the Milwaukee area.

He’s being remembered as someone who loved good wine, tennis and Christmastime.

“Please, help us identify this individual and bring closure for John’s family who have lost their warm, kind, thoughtful, generous and bright son,” Zunker said.

John Craig Schmutzer