instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Chapter 1 (exceprt)

The call came at 10:52 Thursday morning, April 18, 1974. Detective Dick Sroka answered. Luann Reblin, a twenty-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, sounded frantic. She was working the front desk at Green Commons, the cafeteria building that joined the three high-rise towers of Sandburg Hall dormitory at UWM. She said a fifth-floor resident had just called and told her a body was lying on the roof "outside my window."


"We'll be right over," Sroka told her.


Units 12, 26, and 38 of the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department were dispatched to Sandburg Hall. Twenty-year-old Patrolman Martin Studenec was the first one there. He hurried into the two-story Green Commons building. He found Reblin at the front desk. She told them how to get to the roof. He ran up the stairs. On the roof, he quickly spotted the body of a young black man lying face-down near the south tower. He rushed to him and checked for a pulse. There was none. He searched the body for identification. There was none. Studenec noticed the man couldn't be much older than he was. He was wearing a double-breasted, dark tan pin-striped suit and a navy turtleneck.


Within moments, Sroka was standing by Studenec. And a few moments later, Sergeant Lyle Bliss was there. It was mid-April but still cold on the north side of Milwaukee—upper thirties with a hard wind blowing twenty miles an hour off Lake Michigan six blocks away. Under a gray sky, the officers stared down at the prone body on the tar roof. They wondered who he was and how he got there.