The Twisted Story Of The Kunz Family Murders

On July 5, 1987, Kenny Kunz entered his family home to find four of his family members dead and his mother missing. All of them had been shot in the head at close range with a .22 caliber rifle. The missing family member, Helen Kunz, would be found in a swamp nine months later, having also been shot in the head.

Authorities eventually charged 21-year-old farmer Christopher Jacobs III with the murders, but a jury found him not guilty. Some believe that the Kunz family's eccentric nature had something to do with the verdict, as the stories and rumors surrounding the Kunzes' private lives seemed to overshadow the trial. In fact, it ultimately took over a decade for Jacobs to finally be brought to justice.

  • On July 4, 1987, The Kunz Family Was Murdered At Their Wisconsin Farm

    On the evening of July 4, 1987, Christopher Jacobs III is said to have stopped by the Kunz family farm near Wausau, WI, to buy a car from Randy Kunz. The two got into a fight, and Jacobs allegedly began shooting.

    The next morning, Clarence Kunz (76), Irene Kunz (81), Marie Kunz (72), and Randy Kunz (30) were found with .22-caliber bullet holes in their heads. The next morning, Kenny Kunz discovered his family's bodies throughout the house. Marie was found in the entryway while Randy's body was in the kitchen. Clarence had been in his bedroom, and Irene was found sitting in an armchair.

  • Helen Kunz Was Missing From The Crime Scene

    Upon discovering the bodies of his family members, Kenneth Kunz realized that his mother, Helen, was nowhere to be found. There was brief speculation that Helen herself might have committed the murders, but authorities quickly determined that she was likely a victim of kidnapping.

    The community rallied around the hope that Helen would someday be found and created t-shirts and buttons with “Where’s Helen?” printed on the front. Unfortunately, her body was discovered nine months after the murders near a creek in Medford, WI. This new, grisly piece of evidence only further complicated an already baffling mystery.

  • Authorities Found Explicit Materials Inside The Kunz Home

    During the investigation, authorities discovered that the Kunzes' home had no indoor plumbing, and their only source of heat was a single wood-burning stove. Investigators also reportedly found trash and filth throughout the home.

    Despite the lack of modern amenities, the Kunz family did own a TV and VCR, as well as an extensive library of sexually explicit videotapes and magazines. Police believed that the the Kunzes watched adult films together as a family. This hypothesis was partially corroborated by a remark Helen made to a store clerk a few weeks prior to her disappearance: While purchasing an electric toaster, she mentioned that she was angry with her family for watching "dirty movies."

  • Cash Was Found Hidden Throughout The Home

    The Kunz family home was described as "ramshackle" and unkempt, sitting on 108 acres of land located six miles from town. Despite their living conditions, cash was found throughout the home amounting to $20,000.

    Investigators later learned that the Kunzes were known for always paying bills with cash and never letting anyone inside their home. Neighbors stated that the family only spoke to others when spoken to and largely kept to themselves. Police also noted that whoever murdered the family clearly didn't know about the massive amounts of cash stashed throughout the farmhouse.

  • Sordid Rumors About The Family Began Circulating

    After the murders, some reports indicated that Helen had slept in the same bed as her adult son, Randy. Clarence, Marie, and Irene were also said to have all slept together in the living room. While this isn't necessarily questionable, rumors surrounding Kenny's parentage further suggested that Kunz family members engaged in incest.

    When Helen became pregnant in 1933, a neighbor named Frank Gumz was convicted of raping then-15-year-old Helen. However, rumors circulated for decades that Clarence was the real father, as Helen and Clarence were said to have had an unusually close relationship.

  • Helen Purchased Ammunition Prior To The Killings

    A few weeks before the murders, Helen Kunz purchased .22 bullets - the very same type of ammo used for the murders - from the local Weiler Hardware store. During a conversation with the clerk, Helen said that the bullets were for her son, who was going to kill some pesky blackbirds on their property. 

    This information sparked the theory that Helen may have killed her family, but it did not account for her body ending up in a swamp.