UPDATE: Court records give details in Jackson Co. homicide - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Court records give details in Jackson Co. homicide

Authorities remain at the Helgeson farm Thursday afternoon. Authorities remain at the Helgeson farm Thursday afternoon.
Lars Helgeson Lars Helgeson
Brian Helgeson Brian Helgeson
Crime scene tape lays in the grass at the driveway entrance to the Helgeson farm. Crime scene tape lays in the grass at the driveway entrance to the Helgeson farm.

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Court documents give more details on how a rural Town of Hixton man was killed and some of the evidence found by investigators.

Lars Helgeson is in jail on suspicion of shooting and killing his father, Brian Helgeson. Autopsy results released Friday show Brian died of multiple gunshot wounds.

According to court records obtained by our sister station WQOW, a friend of Lars Helgeson told investigators Lars told him he had shot his dad with a .22 pistol, put his body in an end loader, and hauled him to a wooded area and buried him on their rural Hixton property.

Brian Helgeson's other son told investigators he went to the home to check on his father. He said no one answered the door, but that he could see people moving inside and several guns on a kitchen table.  

A neighbor told investigators he saw several vehicles on the property that were not supposed to be there. He said no one would come to the door, but he saw Lars under the table. The neighbor says Lars eventually came to the door and appeared very white and was talking in circles.

The SWAT team was called to the home and found syringes and pipes consistent with drug use. They also saw loaded guns pointed at the door.

A search of the home this week turned up nine guns, and 17 empty .22 shells.

Lars Helgeson was arrested Wednesday and remains in the Jackson County Jail.  A formal homicide charge is expected to be filed in the next several days.


BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Jackson County authorities confirm that the body of a man found buried on a rural Hixton Township farm is Brian Helgeson.

Autopsy results released by the department Friday morning state positive identification was made of the missing man through body markings, dental records, and family.

The autopsy also showed that Helgeson died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The body of the 57-year-old Helgeson was discovered Wednesday on his farm. At a news conference Thursday by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Duane Waldera said that Helgeson likely died 10-11 days earlier.

As of Friday morning, Helgeson's son Lars, is in the Jackson County Jail on a charge of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the death of his father. He was arrested around the same time as the body of his father was found by searchers. 

Prosecutors filed a probable cause affidavit with the Jackson County Circuit Court to hold Helgeson until charges are filed by the District Attorney's office. No date is set for Helgeson's first court appearance related to the homicide charge.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Department continues to interview additional people related to the investigation.


TOWNSHIP OF HIXTON, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The son of a missing Jackson County man is in jail charged with his father's homicide.

Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera Thursday morning said that they have arrested Lars Helgeson of rural Hixton on a charge of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the death of his father Brian Helgeson.

Waldera said that as deputies were arresting Lars Helgeson Wednesday evening elsewhere in Jackson County, searchers were finding the buried body believed to be Brian Helgeson on his property. A K-9 search team located the general area where the body was eventually found by searchers.

An autopsy was planned for Thursday in Dane County.  According to Sheriff Waldera, due to the condition of the body, they cannot officially confirm that it is Brian Helgeson, or how the person died. 

Waldera said that they believe the body was buried 10 to 11 days before it was discovered. Investigators think Helgeson was shot, but must wait for the autopsy to confirm how he died.

As of late Thursday afternoon, investigators were still collecting evidence at the scene.

The investigation began Monday when, according to Waldera, Lars' brother became concerned over suspicious activity and went to check on his father.

Neighbors, like the Helgeson's long-time friend, Lynn Wilkinson, were also concerned.

"Brian comes (to my house) every day. Every day. More than once sometimes," she said.

It seemed odd to Lynn Wilkinson when she didn't see or hear from Helgeson for almost a week. So she went to check on him.

"We're all like, let's all go down there. The more of us can look around," Wilkinson said.

When she saw all the lights out, Wilkinson called Helgeson's brother who drove by the house and contacted authorities when he failed to find his father or his brother at home.

A tip call led to the discovery of a vehicle stolen near the Helgeson home on Wednesday.  Officers spotted who they believed to be Lars Helgeson running away from the vehicle as they approached. A manhunt of the area lasted until early Wednesday evening when Lars was spotted walking down a road with his hands raised in the air.  Deputies then took Helgeson into custody without incident.

Waldera said that Helgeson has cooperated with investigators in the case. During a Thursday morning news conference, Waldera wasn't able to say what the possible motive behind Brian Helgeson's death. Waldera wouldn't say if anyone else was involved.  He would say that investigators are still talking to people about the case.

While the body found goes through an autopsy in Dane County, Wilkinson waits for answers, still hopeful that body is not her neighbor and dear friend.

"Do I fear it is? Yep. Too many things have brought us to where we are today," Wilkinson said.

Meanwhile, Lars Helgeson remains in the Jackson County Jail.  A court appearance for Helgeson is pending.


BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Sheriff Duane Waldera of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department plans a news conference Thursday morning to provide an update in the case of a Hixton area man reported missing earlier this week and the arrest of the man's son.

A family member became concerned after not hearing from Brian Helgeson for more than a week. On September 23, the family member became suspicious when she went to his Town of Hixton home and didn't have anyone answer. She called authorities after she saw someone inside the home trying to hide. When officers arrived and searched the home, they found no one inside or any evidence of foul play.

They also began looking for Lars Helgeson, Brian's son, who also lived at the home. Sheriff's investigators later determined Lars was safe after he contacted friends but were unable to find him.

Earlier on Wednesday, a tip led officers to a Chevy Suburban stolen from a home near the Helgeson's. As officers got to the vehicle, a man believed to be Lars Helgeson was seen running into the woods. According to Sheriff Waldera, deputies from Jackson and Trempealeau Counties, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and agents from the Wisconsin Department of Justice began a search of the area for Helgeson. A State Patrol aircraft also assisted in the search.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Waldera says a area resident reported what he thought was a juvenile walking down the roadway with his hands in the air near County Highway P in the Town of Springfield southeast of Hixton. Deputies arrived and identified him as Lars Helgeson. He was taken into custody without resisting on a charge of felony vehicle theft. He was not armed at the time of his arrest. He is currently in the Jackson County Jail.

In his statement to the media Wednesday evening, Sheriff Waldera did not provide any update on the whereabouts of Brian Helgeson. The news conference is scheduled at the Jackson County Courthouse for 11:00 a.m.

We will have a crew in Black River Falls and will have updates on this story as they become available.


Jackson County (WQOW) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says Lars Helgeson is now in custody. Law enforcement says he was taken into custody shortly before 6pm on Wednesday near County Highway P in the Township of Springfield. They say he was not armed, and there was no incident. He is being held at the Jackson County Jail.

Authorities say they received a tip from a farmer in the area saying a man that matched Helgeson's description walking and holding his hands up in the air.

The Sheriff's Department says there is no word on the father at this point.


Township of Hixton, WISCONSIN (WXOW) - Jackson County officials are looking for a suspect who they say maybe armed and dangerous.

Authorities say they were called by a family member on September 23 to check on Brian Helgeson, 57, at his home, in the Township of Hixton. 

The family member told officials that she had not heard from the Brian for over a week.  The caller went on to say that she had stopped by Brian's home, which he shared with his son Lars Helgeson, 20, but no one answered the door.  She said when she looked into a window of the home she saw a person trying to hide.  The family member said she became suspicious so she called authorities.

Shortly after the 911 call, Jackson County deputies went to Brian's home and also received no answer when they knocked at the door.  The Sheriff's Office activated that department's Emergency Response Team (ERT) and found no one inside the home or initial evidence of foul play.

Officials said they were initially concerned for the welfare of Lars as well as Brian, but investigating deputies were able to determine that Lars had recently contacted friends and was safe.  However, authorities have been unable to find Lars and he has made no effort to contact law enforcement.   

At this time, authorities say Brian is still missing and foul play has not been ruled out.  Officials say Lars is being considered a person of interest in his disappearance.  Authorities believe Lars is mentally unstable, armed and dangerous. Authorities warn the public not to approach him and to call police.

Officials say Lars may be operating one of two vehicles.  A 1998 Green Chevy S-10 with registration plate 241650F or 204665F.  He might also be driving a 1980 Chevy Suburban with plate 589DEW. That vehicle is brown in color.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Brian or Lars contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 1-715-284-5357.

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