TOMAH, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – An Eau Claire County Judge orders Shane Helmbrecht to return to Wisconsin. Helmbrecht is accused of killing his neighbor, Jen Ward, in Eau Claire in 2016. Tuesday, the District Attorney filed a motion for Helmbrecht to return to the state after he left a group home in Tomah and authorities found him in New Mexico.
Now that the motion has been granted, Helmbrecht has 48 hours to return and contact the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office when he does. Helmbrecht also cannot leave the state unless the court grants permission.
Jen Ward’s sister, Jaimie Kirchoff, says she’s frustrated Helmbrecht was able to leave the state and that a warrant hasn’t already been issued. She said, “Waiting 48 hours seems small in comparison to how long we’ve been waiting, which is ultimately seven years. We tried to revamp this in February. And so, my point to the judge was 48 hours doesn’t really matter. He’s been gone for ten days since or at least once we’ve been notified that he’s been gone for ten days. So, I just wanted them to put the warrant in place now, considering those 48 hours, but there are some legal repercussions where they have to try and attempt to give notice, which I didn’t agree with.”
Missing his own hearing was Helmbrecht whose whereabouts are still unknown. His attorney said his phone is disconnected and family has not heard from him. Kirchoff added, “I guess that’s the most frustrating to me. Our family is looking for him not to do this to other people. For him not to be able to go and break some other family member’s lives apart. So, for him to be here under supervision is what we’re looking for. Minimally. Would case and find some resolution and attempt for justice? Absolutely.”
If he does -not- return within 48 hours the DA plans to request a warrant for his arrest.
On Friday, the DA filed another motion, asking the judge to require Hambrecht to submit to an inpatient evaluation in order to determine his competency. That motion was not discussed in today’s hearing. Another hearing to discuss the matter is scheduled for this Friday.