Authorities call Portage Co. missing persons case "unusual" - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Authorities call Portage Co. missing persons case "unusual"


UPDATE - We have an update on the social security fraud case in Portage County.

A judge ruled there is enough evidence for Charles Jost to head to trial.

In September, Jost was charged along with his sister, Dolores Disher and brother in law Ronald Disher as authorities investigated a missing persons case and social security fraud.

All three are due back in court on December.


Investigators say they've finished searching for clues at the last known address of a woman missing for 30 years.

The Portage County Sheriff's Department reports that they collected several small bone fragments at the Amherst Junction home where police believe 100-year-old Marie Jost was buried. She and her son Theodore Jost have been missing since the 1980's.
Authorities have used cadaver dogs and even excavators to search for evidence.

Three of Jost's family members have been charged with fraudulently cashing Jost's social security checks. 69-year-old Delores Disher is due to appear in court Friday afternoon.

The bone fragments have been sent to Madison for testing.

The sheriff's department also released two photos. One shows Marie Jost in approximately 1980. The other shows Theodore Jost in the late 1950's.

The last time Marie Jost was heard from was 1982. But every month since, her social security checks have been sent out, and authorities say every one of them has been cashed.

Now, three of her family members are sitting in jail.

"It's definitely unusual," Captain Dale O'Kray from the Portage County Sheriff's Department said.

For two days sheriff's deputies have been searching Jost's property for any sign of the 100-year-old woman and her 74-year-old son, Theodore.

"It's basically an episode of Hoarders," Captain O'Kray said. "There's just a ton of stuff to go through."

Investigators say their home, located in Amherst Junction, is uninhabitable with trash piled to the ceiling and no running water. They say that makes their search even more difficult.

"We have to start somewhere and we're starting with the property and collecting as many clues as we can," Captain O'Kray explained.

Jost and her son have been missing for almost 30 years. Their family never reported them gone.

"That's the suspicious part," O'Kray said.

This all started last week when Portage County authorities were contacted by the Social Security Administration asking them to check on Marie. But, when they got to her home, authorities say Marie's son, Charles, was the only one there.

"He said she (Marie's) has been on a trip since 1982. That'd be a long trip," O'Kray said.

Now, cadaver dogs have been searching their home. Authorities say evidence has led them to believe Marie and her son could be buried on their own property.

"We have no indication she'd be somewhere else," said O'Kray. 

After further investigation, authorities arrested Charles Jost and two other family members, Delores and Ronald Disher. They say the group has been cashing Marie's social security checks and keeping the money for themselves.

"The family is not very cooperative," O'Kray said. "Their stories keep changing."

On Thursday, Charles, Ronald, and Delores appeared in Portage County court. But their defense lawyers declined to comment. They told Newsline 9 it was still too early in the case.

All three remain in jail after a judge decided there is enough evidence of a crime, and enough evidence that they were likely responsible. Formal chargers are expected when the three return to court in two weeks. For now, they remain in jail on a $20,000 cash bond.

Authorities ask anyone with information on Marie or Theodore Jost to call the Portage County Sheriff's Department.

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