- The case against a Wausau man facing murder charges will move forward. Thirty-five-year-old Kristopher Torgerson pled not guilty in court during his preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Torgerson didn't admit to the murder in September, but he led police to Stephanie Low's burial site in the woods of Forest County. She had been missing for nearly four years.
Torgerson faces charges of intentional homicide, armed robbery, and hiding a body related to Low's disappearance and death.
Officers credit two informants for opening up this case. The two admitted to helping Torgerson move Low's body in October 2010. They said he was trying to steal crack cocaine from Low's apartment, when Low was stabbed during a fight. According to testimony Tuesday from Wausau Police Department Detective Jennifer Holz, Torgerson contacted two people after that.
One was a friend, while the other was Torgerson's girlfriend at the time. The criminal complaint refers to both as informants. The girlfriend told investigators Torgerson offered her money after she led him to her mother's cabin in Forest County.
"She said that there was blood on the money," Holz said. "[She said] she refused to take it."
The informants haven't been charged in the case. Their names came up numerous times during Tuesday's court proceedings, but Newswatch 12 has chosen not to name them. Special Prosecutor Richard DuFour wouldn't say if they would face charges.
Torgerson's ex-wife also spoke with investigators. She told police that Torgerson tried to find the burial site nearly a year after Low's disappearance.
"The defendant stated that she quote, unquote 'better get her s*** together' because hunting season was coming, and somebody may find Stephanie's body," Holz said.
Torgerson's attorney tried to get a charge of hiding a body dropped. However, the judge denied that motion. The investigator also discussed what Torgerson said when officers presented the case against him in September.
"He said the sooner you get me back to Wausau, the sooner you will find her," Holz said.
They found the remains near Wabeno in September. They were under a large rock off of a forest road. One of the informants said a truck drove by while Torgerson was digging the grave.
"He instructed the man to hide, or pretend that he was urinating or something, basically look natural," Holz said. "After the truck passed, the defendant continued digging the hole."
Torgerson will stay in prison serving time for another crime. Torgerson also asked for a substitution of judge. He asked that a judge other than Judge Jill Falstad be assigned to this case. A status conference will be scheduled once a new judge has been assigned to this case.