EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The man accused of killing an Eau Claire woman 7 years ago was found in Mexico over the weekend. He was taken into custody after a nationwide warrant has been out for more than a month. First News at Nine’s Kim Leadholm has the details.
Shane Helmbrecht was taken into custody over the weekend in Mexico. Staff with the FBI say they assisted in his capture. He’s sitting in the Cook County Jail in Chicago. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning. The sister of victim Jenn Ward, Jamie Kirchoff, says, “The hardest part, through everything and dealing judicial system, is the time it takes. And we’ve been waiting weeks for something to move forward.”
If Helmbrecht waives extradition, the Eau Claire County Sherriff would return him to Wisconsin. If he fights extradition, it could be months before he is returned to Eau Claire.
There’s still a lot of questions. We don’t know how law enforcement found him in Mexico or why he’s in Cook County.
Here’s what we do know. Nearly 2 months ago Helmbrecht left a group home in Tomah. In early October, Helmbrecht was found in New Mexico but released when law enforcement determined they had no grounds to hold him. Eventually, a judge ordered a nationwide warrant ordering his return to Eau Claire.
Helmbrecht is accused of shooting and killing his neighbor, Jenn Ward in 2016. He was found incompetent to stand trial and was ordered to live in a mental health facility.
Kirchoff says she hopes that now that he’s been found, he will stand before a judge for the homicide, “My twin sisters, life is worth something. It’s worth more than a man running away to go on vacation in Mexico. Her life is worth for her children to see that there has been justice for her.”
Once Helmbrecht is back in the state, staff with the DA’s office say he’ll likely remain in the Eau Claire County Jail until his next court appearance.