From the outside, the Kunz family seemed like any other, but a closer look revealed that they were anything but normal. Incest, filthy living quarters, a vast sum of hidden money, and an obsession with "dirty movies" all lead up to one of the most baffling unsolved murders of the 20th century. On July 4, 1987, four members of the Kunz family were murdered in their Wisconsin home, and the fifth resident of the house was nowhere to be found. No one could figure out who killed the Kunz family, as prior to their deaths, they lived a secluded, isolated life.
Many believe that the murders were the work of Chris Jacobs III, a local, small-time criminal who knew the Kunzs from buying and selling old cars. However, Jacobs was eventually found not guilty due to a lack of concrete evidence. Other Kunz family murders facts suggest that the murders were committed by Helen, the missing family member who had purchased bullets a few weeks before her disappearance.
Once the Independence Day fireworks had ended, all was calm in the quiet town of Athens, WI. It was a warm summer night, and the town's 1,000 or so residents had returned to their homes to rest. Suddenly, the silence was broken when someone crept into the the ramshackle farmhouse where the Kunz family lived and murdered them in their beds.
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. Kenneth Kunz, Randy’s brother, was the first person to discover the carnage. To make matters worse, Kenny noticed that his mother, Helen Kunz, was missing from the home, and he had no idea where she could be.
The Kunz's house was barely fit to live in. There was no running water, and the only heat-source was a single wood-burning stove that the family apparently used for cooking. All of the Kunzs were hoarders, and trash littered every corner of the rotting estate. Despite the unkempt interior of their farmhouse, the Kunzs did have a few modern conveniences, including a television and a VCR. When the home was searched after the murders, an enormous library of sexually explicit videotapes and magazines was found.
The police believed that the the Kunzs watched adult films together as a family. This hypothesis was furthered by a remark Helen had 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" on the VCR.
It seems as though the Kunzs practiced romantic, as well as familal love with one another. Prior to their deaths, Helen slept in the same bed as her adult son Randy, and Clarence, Marie, and Irene all slept together in the living room. While this isn't necessarily questionable, rumors surrounding Kenny's parentage further suggest that Kunz family members were sexually intimate.
When Helen became pregnant in 1933, a neighbor named Frank Gumz was convicted of raping the then 15-year-old. However, rumors circulated for decades that Clarence was the real father, as Helen and Clarence had an unusually close relationship. This rumor was so pervasive that even Kenny himself seemed to believe it.
When the bodies were discovered, every Kunz family member but Helen was accounted for. Had the 70-year-old woman coldly murdered her whole family? Was she even physically capable of committing such an act? No one seemed to think so, and a search party was quickly formed to locate the woman.
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 served to further complicate an already baffling mystery.