JEFFERSON — Law enforcement authorities are requesting the public’s assistance in the search for a rural Fort Atkinson man wanted in the murders of his sister and brother-in-law, attempted murder of a sheriff’s deputy and setting his late father’s Town of Sumner house on fire in June.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Friday it and other state and federal law enforcement agencies are continuing to seek the whereabouts of Kevin P. Anderson, 61, who has been charged in the shooting deaths of Nedra and Jim Lemke of Fort Atkinson.
“At this time, there are no known vehicles associated with Kevin Anderson, and he is a known outdoorsman/hunter,” the sheriff’s office stated. “As many begin their hunting season, please pay special attention for Kevin. He was known to frequent thousands of acres in the area of County Highway A and State Highway 106, which we have searched by use of planes, helicopters, drones, K-9s, thermal imaging and officers actually walking through the woods and fields.
“Again, we are dealing with thousands of acres and ask that the public pay special attention for Kevin and contact us (920) 674-7310 if he is observed,” it added.
Authorities have cautioned in the past that anyone who sees him should not approach Anderson. Rather, they should call authorities immediately.
He is described as a 6-foot-tall white male who weighs about 200 pounds and has blue eyes and balding brown hair.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the murders with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and U.S. Marshal’s Service.
In late June, Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Monica Hall filed charges against Anderson in connection with the Tuesday, June 16, gunshot deaths of the Lemkes. They include two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count each of attempted intentional first-degree homicide, arson and a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Hall, at approximately 5:48 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Nedra Lemke, 57, reporting a potential burglary at N1941 County Highway A, just off of Highway 106 in the Town of Sumner. She told dispatch that she and her husband, Jim, 59, had arrived at the property of her late father, Verdal Anderson, to mow the lawn and noticed that some windows on the home were broken. They checked the doors and found they were locked, and were concerned there might have been a break-in.
When a uniformed deputy arrived approximately 12 minutes later, he noticed a sports utility vehicle parked in the driveway. He parked his squad several yards behind it and, as he approached the SUV, he saw Nedra Lemke lying on the ground next to the driver’s side of the vehicle. He also noticed a man who appeared have mental disabilities moving in the back-seat passenger’s side.
The deputy “retreated to the rear exterior passenger side of his squad car to radio in the information he had observed and retrieve his rifle,” according to the complaint.
As he was calling for backup, someone started to fire a gun in his direction from a second -story window in the home. He reportedly crouched behind his squad and, using his duty weapon, returned four rounds toward the upper northeast window of the house, in the direction of the person who was firing toward him, while simultaneously retreating down the driveway and into a ditch across the road.
Then the two-story house started on fire.
The Jefferson County SWAT team arrived and, in addition to Nedra Lemke’s body, found a man, later identified as Jim Lemke, lying in front of the vehicle, also deceased.
Deputies determined that the victims were Anderson’s sister and husband, and that the man in the back seat of the SUV was Anderson and Nedra Lemke’s brother, Kirk, who is nonverbal due to mental and physical limitations.
Interviewed by authorities, Anderson’s wife, Lynn, said that Kevin was supposed to be the personal representative in his parents’ will. However, after his father died on June 5, Nedra informed her brother that she was the personal representative. That was confirmed by a copy of the will.
“When asked if that upset the defendant, his wife told Special Agent Volenber, ‘Well yeah. I don’t think he was really happy about that. He said ‘why would Dad do that when he came out and asked me? And then if he changed it, why wouldn’t he tell me?’ That was his question to me.’”
A person who had grown up with Anderson and used to hunt with him reportedly told a federal special agent that Anderson could make shots that other people could not.