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home : news : city news May 24, 2016

7/30/2011 7:30:00 AM
Playing cards may solve Vilas cold case
By Heather Schaefer
Associate Editor

In the early morning hours of May 20,1990, Susan Poupart, 29, walked out of a Lac du Flambeau house party and was never seen alive again. Several months later, her remains were found in a remote part of the Chequemegon National Forest in Price County.

Police have said they have suspects, and a few years ago held a series of John Doe hearings in an attempt to glean more information about the night Poupart disappeared, but the hearings were thwarted after key witnesses refused to testify on the grounds they could be incriminated.

Poupart's murder remains unsolved but Vilas County authorities remain committed to bringing her killer or killers to justice.

Authorities are now hoping that the inclusion of Poupart's case on a set of playing cards featuring missing persons and unsolved murder cases may help them solve this 21-year-old Northwoods mystery.

According to a press release issued by the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators, the cold case playing card project started in 2009 when homicide investigators from across the state began gathering information on 104 cold case death investigations, homicides and missing persons cases.

Due to the large number of cases profiled, two sets of cards were created - one focusing on Milwaukee area cases and the other featuring cases from throughout the state. Each deck of playing cards profiles 52 violent unsolved homicide, missing person or unidentified remain cases.

The cases featured in each deck are available at: and

The cards, which include a photo of the victims' faces and a brief synopsis of their case, will be distributed to prisons around the state, as well as all 72 sheriff's departments and will be placed in day rooms or areas where inmates will be able to utilize them.

"The goal is that through their use, a tip or lead might be generated," said Special Agent Jim Holmes of the Wisconsin Department of Justice. "The information received from an inmate might just be the missing link that can breathe new life into a case that has gone cold."

The Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators worked in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the Badger State Sheriff's Association, the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriff's Association, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, the Racine Police Department and law enforcement agencies throughout the state to create the decks.

"The cold case playing card project will be ongoing," said Holmes. "Although 104 cases are profiled in the first two decks, as soon as 52 more cases are developed, a second edition of the playing cards will be printed and distributed."

Law enforcement agencies or members of the public that would like to provide information on a victim of a cold case homicide or missing persons case, or who would like to have a case reviewed for inclusion in a future edition of the cards, may contact Special Agent Jim Holmes at (608) 266-1671 or via email at

The cold case cards project is supported by grant funds and is patterned after similar programs in Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington.

Vilas County authorities have long said they believe there are persons in the Lac du Flambeau area who have information about Poupart's murder and have urged them to come forward.

If anyone has information concerning Poupart's death or any other cold case, contact your local law enforcement agency or local crime tip line (800-78-CRIME).

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