Murder of Alfred Kunz

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Fr. Alfred Kunz

Alfred Joseph Kunz (April 15, 1931 – March 4, 1998) was a Catholic priest who was found with his throat slit in his Roman Catholic church in Dane, Wisconsin.[1] The still-unsolved murder investigation has been described as the most expensive and time-consuming investigation in Dane County's history.[2]


Kunz, though he continued to say the Latin Mass, also said the Mass in English and was in communion with his diocesan bishop. "Father Kunz was a well-known expert in canon law, so he knew how to walk the lines," Bill Brophy, a spokesman for the Madison, Wisconsin Catholic Diocese said shortly after his murder.[3] Kunz was pastor at the church for 32 years before his death.[4]

Prior to his death, Kunz had his own radio show and had been a close associate of Malachi Martin, an author and exorcist. After Kunz was murdered, Martin alleged that the priest had been killed by "Luciferians" and said Kunz had performed several exorcisms before his death. Martin said Kunz felt his life was in danger in the weeks before his murder. Kunz's friend, Abbot Ryan St. Anne Scott felt Kunz's murder was related to Kunz's investigation of sexual abuse scandals in the diocese.[5]


The Dane County Sheriff's Department also investigated a calf mutilation 15 mi (24 km) from Kunz's church the day before his murder that a farmer attributed to a cult. Kunz had allegedly been investigating reports of homosexuality and sexual abuse by priests within the diocese of Springfield, Illinois. There were also allegations that Kunz had been involved with female parishioners.[4][6]

"The motives are all over the place, anything from jealousy, power and control to betrayal and fear of exposure," Dane County Sheriff's Detective Kevin Hughes said in 2001. "So take your pick at this point. We just don't know yet."[3] In 2002, Dane County sheriff Gary Hamblin stated that his department was still receiving tips about the case. By this time, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, investigators had concluded that the killer knew Kunz and was familiar with the church property.[4] Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney stated in March 2008 that his department no longer uses the term "intimate" in regard to the murder investigation of Kunz, which dispels any hint of impropriety. Mahoney is also willing to cooperate with "cold case" investigators, even though his department does not consider the Kunz investigation "cold."[7]

By 2009, investigators with the Dane County sheriff's department were willing to state that they have a long-time suspect, who has never been named as they lack sufficient evidence to indict him. Steve Gilmore, lieutenant of detectives with the department, said that the suspect left town soon after Kunz's death. Gilmore also said, "We still know where he's at and what he's up to. If indeed he had committed this one, he's stayed pretty clean. We certainly don't think there's any threat to the public out there."[2] Gilmore has also stated that the suspect is alive (as of 2008) and under constant surveillance, although no longer living in the Dane County jurisdiction.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Autopsy: Priest died from loss of blood". The Telegraph-Herald. March 7, 1998. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Stephen Elbow (1 September 2009). "To catch a cold". The Capital Times. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b Nowlen, Chuck (2001). "The Devil and Father Kunz". "Las Vegas Weekly (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)".
  4. ^ a b c "Four Years After Killing of Priest, New Clues Few". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 5 March 2002. (available at Google news)
  5. ^ Abbott, Matt C. (2004). "The bizarre case of Rev. Ryan St. Anne Scott". Renew America. Archived from the original on December 29, 2006. Retrieved February 17, 2007.
  6. ^ "Officials:Slain priest had relationships with women". The Telegraph-Herald. March 3, 2000. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  7. ^ New Hope in Case of Murdered Priest International News Analysis Today, by Toby Westerman. 17 March 2008
  8. ^ Abbott, Matt C. (2006). "Did hanged rapist kill Wisconsin priest?". Renew America. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  9. ^ "Dane County Detectives Continue To Investigate Priest's Killing". WISC-TV. 5 March 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-04-04. Retrieved 23 August 2011.