Complaint: Homicide victims killed with fireplace poker

Kuester charged with 3 counts of first-degree intentional homicide
Complaint: Homicide victims killed with fireplace poker
Jaren M. Kuester

Three people killed in a Lafayette County homicide case were killed with a fireplace poker, according to a criminal complaint filed against Jaren Kuester.

A brother found the bodies of Gary Thoreson, 70, Chloe Thoreson, 66, and Dean Thoreson, 76, on April 28. The lone suspect, Jaren Kuester of Waukesha, was arrested in Waukesha.

According to the criminal complaint, Kuester, 31, told investigators that after he was bailed out of jail in Waukesha his life was “crashing and burning” around him. He said he started driving and abandoned his vehicle when he thought he was being followed.

He said he ran through the woods and entered the home of Gary and Chloe Thoreson because he was cold and he didn’t believe anyone was home. He said he cut his hand breaking a window to get into the home. Once in the home, he said he got clothes and food, searched the home for valuables and slept on the floor of a bedroom.

Kuester told investigators he heard a man enter the home and hit him with a fireplace poker. The complaint states Dean Thoreson might have been at the home to check on the house while the couple was away.

Kuester said he drove the man’s truck into the garage and closed the door.

Investigators said Gary and Chloe Thoreson later entered the home and were killed. Their bodies were found in the basement. Kuester admitted to killing them with a fireplace poker. He told investigators he killed the victims because he didn’t want them to get help.

Kuester took money, blankets and a metal bar to use as a weapon and drove to his father’s house in Dean Thoreson’s pickup, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that the Thoresons died from blunt force trauma to the neck and head. Chloe Thoreson was also stabbed.

Kuester’s vehicle was found in a Green County field, and officers tracked him down to a Waukesha home.

The Waukesha police officer who first made contact with Kuester said he had “visible lacerations” and dried blood on him. Kuester’s father told investigators that when Jaren showed up at his apartment, Jaren said he had hurt three people.

The criminal complaint states Kuester has a history of mental-health issues.

The complaint charges Kuester with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was ordered held on $3 million bail.