When Ron and Marion Snyder left their home on the morning of Oct. 23, 2004, they didn’t expect to find a body beside the road.
The Snyders were headed into Waupaca to help with a food drive and were driving south on Butts Road at approximately 8:45 a.m. on a Saturday six years ago when they noticed a shoe in the road near the entrance to the campground.
“Then my wife said, ‘Oh, my God, there’s a body in the ditch!'” said Ron Snyder.
Snyder testified Monday, Nov. 15, in the trial of Rory Kuenzi.
Kuenzi was charged one year ago with felony hit-and-run involving death and homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle. His trial began Monday.
Snyder said they initially thought they saw a mannequin in the road because Halloween was just a week away. Snyder drove to Garfield Road, turned around and went back. They realized that there was indeed a body in the ditch and called 911.
Snyder testified that the dispatch officer asked him to check if the man was dead. Snyder, who retired from the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King as a nursing assistant, felt for a pulse, but found none.
He said the body was cold to the touch.
A few minutes later, Waupaca County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Rasmussen arrived at the scene.
Rasmussen testified Monday about law enforcement’s efforts to gather evidence and take measurements. Deputies found the body in the west ditch, about one-quarter mile north of State Highway 54.
The body would later be identified as 20-year-old Kevin McCoy, whose driver’s license was found in his jacket pocket. Photos from the scene show that the body was about three feet away from the gravel shoulder. McCoy’s arms were raised above his head and formed the shape of a narrow X with his legs, which were straight and spread slightly apart.
Both of McCoy’s shoes and socks had come off during the crash and his trousers were pushed up past his knees. His shirt and blue jacket with orange stripes were pushed up to his chest, leaving his abdomen bare.
“Generally, if someone is ejected from a vehicle they’re not laid out like they’re taking a nap. they’re crumpled and rolled up,” Rasmussen said.
The shoe the Snyders saw in the road was 136 feet from McCoy’s body. The second shoe on the shoulder, not far from the first shoe.
Rasmussen described a debris field of amber glass, pieces of white plastic, pieces of blue paint. The debris field was 48 feet long and started just over 99 feet from the body.
Deputies quickly linked Kuenzi’s vehicle to the scene. From the serial number on a piece of lens, they knew that it came from a sidelight on a late-1980s Chevy S-10 or pickup truck.
They also learned that there had been an underage drinking part about one-half mile north of the body’s location. Witnesses told them that McCoy had been at the party and Kuenzi had been driving a blue Chevy S-10.
Rasmussen and three other deputies went to Kuenzi’s home on North Shore Road in Weyauwega. When they arrived they saw a blue Chevy S-10 in the driveway.
On the front passenger’s sdie of the truck, the hood was dented, the brush guard was damaged, the amber sidelight was broken and a foglight was missing.
Rasmussen testified that two men came out of the house when the deputies arrived. The older man identified himself as Doug Kuenzi, Rory Kuenzi’s father.
“We asked if Rory was home. The older of the two stated that Rory wasn’t home, he was out bowhunting. I asked who the younger of the two was. He didn’t answer right away,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen said the younger man identified himself as Robbie Kuenzi, Rory’s brother.
Later, a third man came out of the house and also identified himself as Robbie Kuenzi. At this time, Rasmussen placed Rory Kuenzi under arrest for obstruction of an officer.
Deputy Coroner Sharon Sohr also testified Monday. In 2004, she was still known as Sharon Henning.
Sohr works part-time as a deputy coroner for the county and full-time for the Appleton Medical Center. She was on call from midnight to noon on Oct. 23, 2004, and went to Butts Road to examine the body.
Sohr said she received a call from Debbie Kuenzi, who was another deputy coroner at the time and Rory Kuenzi’s aunt.
Sohr said Debbie Kuenzi told her that she received a call from “our boss, chief coroner Barry Tomaras,” informing her that she was to replace Sohr as the investigator at the scene. Sohr did not believe her.
“Barry was standing right next to me,” Sohr said. “He made no calls on his cell phone.”
Troy Nielsen, Kuenzi’s defense attorney, asked Sohr during cross-examination if she would have left the scene if she needed to go to work in Appleton.
“Never,” Sohr replied.
Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Gabrysiak, who is prosecuting the case along with AGA Dennis Krueger, asked, “In the past, have you run into problems where you have had to be released from the scene due to a scheduling conflict?”
“Never,” Sohr replied.
County Coroner Barry Tomaras testified that he was suspicious about the body’s position.
“The body was very clean. I didn’t notice any dirt or gravel like you would see if the body had rolled to that position,” Tomaras said, comparing McCoy’s body to that of other victims of pedestrian-car crashes.
Tomaras testified that the arms and legs of a pedestrian victim’s body are usually twisted.
After focusing on the scene where McCoy’s body was found, the prosecution then turned its attention to the underage drinking party that was held at a home on Butts Road. Details of that party will be posted Tuesday at WaupacaNow.com.