‘They had hope and knew that life was good’: Couple found shot dead at Jefferson Co. home identified
SUMNER, Wis. — The two people who were killed outside of a Jefferson County home have been identified as Nedra Lemke, 57, and Jim Lemke, 59. The Fort Atkinson community and many around the world who have been touched by the couple’s kindness are mourning them, as investigators search for the wife’s brother.
Law enforcement officials were dispatched to a possible burglary Tuesday night. When they arrived, a deputy found the Lemke’s bodies in the driveway.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the deputy was then shot at from the home. He returned fire before seeing black smoke coming from the house, which later went up in flames.
It has been determined that both Nedra and Jim Lemke died from gunshot wounds in front of Nedra’s late father’s home. Her father died less than two weeks before this incident.
“Sometimes when you hear stories like this, you hear ‘This was the best person ever’, and you wonder if that’s really true. But in this case, it is,” said John Ackatz, the Lemke’s pastor at Faith Community Church.
Ackatz said Nedra and Jim worked in the church’s youth ministry program for the last 20 years. Along with teaching Sunday school to middle school students, they also went on multiple mission trips around the world.
“They made a worldwide impact just by the way that they lived their lives, they were just genuine. They were just great people,” he said.
Ackatz said their students and the congregation are devastated by the loss of the Lemekes, but they’re leaning on each other to get through this difficult time.
“The question I get asked a lot and what I share with my students is, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Because Jim and Nedra were the best of the best. We live in a world that’s full of evil and we live in a world that’s hard, but we have hope. In the midst of hardship, we have hope. And that’s Jim and Nedra,” said Ackatz. “They had hope and they knew that life was good. And that came from their faith in who Christ was in their life.”
Ackatz said as the community hurts, they’re also rejoicing that in the midst of this tragedy, God was still there for the Lemkes Tuesday night.
“One day we’re going to get together and have a great time of fellowship again, I believe that. And that’s not just a religious crutch to lean against, as people might say,” said Ackatz.
“There’s a huge vacuum here at our church because of just the way that they cared for people, and that’s hard to replace.”
Nedra & Jim Lemke’s pastor said they were “genuine, authentic people.”
The two were shot and killed Tuesday. DOJ is searching for Nedra’s brother. pic.twitter.com/7Pke7ZkVhN
— Amanda Quintana (@amandaqtv) June 19, 2020
The Department of Justice is still searching for 61-year-old Kevin P. Anderson who is believed to be involved with the incident.
According to their father’s obituary, Anderson is Nedra Lemke’s brother. Their father’s will was filed in Jefferson County last week. It lists Anderson and Lemke, along with 3 other siblings as recipients of the estate.
Anyone who sees Anderson is asked to not approach him and immediately call local law enforcement. He’s 6’0″ and weighs about 200 lbs. with blue eyes and balding brown hair.
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