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Charges filed in 5-year-old homicide case Friday


WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WSAU) - A man already in jail now has more serious charges to face.

53-year-old Joseph B. Reinwand was charged Friday with the shooting death of 35-year-old Dale R. Meister in his Wisconsin Rapids home on or about February 28th of 2008.

Meister lived at Thousand Oaks Trailer Park at 38 Shady Oak Circle.

Police Chief Kurt Heuer announced the breakthrough in the investigation Friday morning. He says several agencies and detectives that are both active and retired contributed to solving the case.

Dale Meister was found seated on his couch with multiple gunshot wounds to his head and chest. The criminal complaint shows the weapon was likely a .22 caliber revolver.

The victim’s brother, James Meister made a brief statement surrounded by family members. They believed all along that Reinwand was their brother’s killer. “It’s been a long time, and a long five years waiting for this day, especially when we knew who took our brother’s life from the beginning. We want to say thanks to the police department and everybody else who stood by us and supported us through this ordeal.”

Family members and several witnesses interviewed by investigators say Dale Meister felt his life was in danger because of Reinwand.

The victim used to date the defendant’s daughter, and they had a child together. There are several references in the criminal complaint about arranging visitation to see his 2-year-old daughter and how difficult that was.

It took five years to reach this point in the investigation, including a 14-month long John Doe investigation where officials were able to gather testimony from many people. Special Prosecutor Vince Biskupic says it may seem like nothing is happening, but they never give up on unsolved cases. “If you have a cold case, there is still enthusiasm at all levels of law enforcement to go back, to work those cases, to show the passion and energy to try and get justice. I think that’s the message that this collaborative effort has said not just to the family but to the surrounding community that pays attention to these cases, and is also concerned that it may go unsolved forever.”

The victim’s brother is hopeful that everyone else learns from their tragedy to let the right people know when you feel your life is in danger. “Just remember, if anybody ever threatens you, call the cops. Write it down. Tell somebody. Don’t think it won’t happen, because it did.”

Joseph Reinwand is scheduled for a June 19th initial appearance before Judge Gregory Potter. It is unknown if Reinwand will be brought to Wisconsin Rapids or make his appearance by video link at the Stanley Prison.

He is already serving time for forgery, burglary, identity theft, possessing a sawed off shotgun, and possession of marijuana.