UPDATE: Authorities say Wausau man was beaten to death - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Authorities say Wausau man was beaten to death with baseball bat


A 49-year-old Wausau man was found dead in a garage Tuesday morning and police suspect homicide. In a press conference Wednesday morning, Wausau Deputy Police Chief Bryan Hilts identified the man as Kerby Kniess. Authorities said Kniess died from a skull fracture and head trauma. They found him in the garage where he had been staying in Wausau.

20-year-old Warren Krohn and 18-year-old Zachary Froehlich have been arrested in connection with this case.

Police were called to a home on N 7th Avenue in Wausau on Tuesday morning. Authorities said the people who live here found Kniess inside the garage.

"It was determined by late in the afternoon that he had died from a depressed skull fracture and significant trauma to his head," said Hilts. "We're in the very early stages of this investigation and this is very preliminary information. We may find out further involvement by other people as the investigation continues."

Hilts told Newsline 9 the initial motive for the crime may have been burglary.

"We believe Mr. Kniess may have been assaulted with a baseball bat," said Hilts. "We did recover three baseball bats from a residence that's associated with the two suspects."

Workers from the state's crime lab have been at the scene throughout the day -- putting together the pieces of this case. Meanwhile, neighbors in the area said the whole situation has left then shaken.

"It's sad," said Robert La Mountain, who lives just down the street. "It's sad that something has to happen like this. It's not comfortable for most of us."

Deputy district attorney Theresa Wetzsteon said Marathon County averages one homicide a year. But the last time someone in the county was charged with the crime was more than three years ago.

"Typically the suspect and the victim do know each other, whether they have a relationship or they're just acquaintances, that is typically the case," said Wetzsteon.

Authorities said they believe Kniess knew the two suspects. And with situations that involve a home invasion, Wetzsteon said there's always a chance things can take a turn for the worst.

"Although we haven't had cases of home invasions turning into homicides, that chance is always there," said Wetzsteon.

Prosecutors said they expect to file charges against the two suspects on Thursday. That's when the men are expected to make their first appearances in Marathon County court.

Stay tuned to Newsline 9 for the latest on this story as new details are released.

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