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Raising money to bring Connie McCallister home Submitted: 11/17/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


ATHENS - Connie McCallister went missing nine years ago.

She was 16 years old when she went to a party with her 22 year old boyfriend in Milwaukee.

That's when her family believes she was drugged and taken to Mexico by her boyfriend.

It was nine years before police we're contacted by McCallister this September.

Since that, the family has been trying to get her and her three kids back in Wisconsin.

But some claim the family knew where she was all along.

"That is completely untrue and unfounded. But now I'm not looking back, only forward and I'm looking forward to her coming home." said Connie's aunt, Florence Volzka.

McCallister's aunt is leading the effort to get McCallister home.

But that could cost thousands of dollars.

That's why Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens held a soup dinner to raise money today.

"It is not inexpensive. There's a lot of legalities. She had no proof of identification, so it's very hard." Volzka said.

Volzka first talked to McCallister on Skype in September.

She now talks with her every day on the phone.

"On her first one, she was ecstatic, nervous. We both cried. And I got to see her on that one," said Volzka.

"Now it's all through telephone. She's a tough young lady I'll tell ya. From a lot of things that I know now that I didn't know then."

Volzka doesn't know when McCallister will come home.

Wausau police are working with the FBI and her family to help her get back home.

You can help by sending donations to Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens or Athens Area Credit Union.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/25/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Lincoln County D.A. determined that the deputy involved in a shooting in late February was justified in his actions. We'll show you the dash cam footage of the shooting that was just released.

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Courthouse where 36-year-old Rodney Teets is being tried for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at knife point in July 2015.

And a Wausau boy wanted to see a wheelchair-friendly playground in his own backyard. Unfortunately, he died before that happened. But that didn't stop his family from keeping their promise. We'll talk with the boy's father and show you how he is making plans for the playground to be built in a Wausau park.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MOLE LAKE - Dozens of members of the Sokoagon Chippewa community came together Monday morning to participate in Earth Day festivities.

Armed with large garbage bags, metal grabbers and plastic gloves, members picked up garbage and debris along a ten mile stretch of the reservation.

One volunteer worked the majority of the day in a blackberry bush, grabbing anything that didn't fit with the natural scenery.

"I would rather see green grass and green trees than tin cans, aluminum cans and plastic," said the volunteer.

57 volunteers came out to help.
Sokoagen Chippewa Environmental Director Tina Van Zile wanted to celebrate Earth Day on a week day because she believed more people would participate.

"Litter bothers me really bad," said Van Zile.

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RHINELANDER - You can get almost anywhere around Pine Lake on an ATV or UTV.  But there are two key Oneida County highways that don't currently allow those vehicles.  Now, a Rhinelander-area ATV club is pushing the county to change that.

The Pine Lake ATV/UTV Club hopes the county will allow access on highways W and C.  The club formed about a year ago and got town approval to open access to all Pine Lake roads except for North and West Birchwood drives.

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MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.

But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.

Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.

"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired. 

[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer. 

People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The case of a woman found hanged in her car will go down as an "undetermined death."

Michelle Rosinski was found in a car outside a Lac du Flambeau home on Longs Point Lane last September.  Emergency responders tried CPR on Rosinski, but they couldn't revive her.  The 45-year-old woman had a choker-style dog collar wrapped around her neck.  

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office initially investigated her death as suspicious.  But Monday, Lt. Carl Gauger told Newswatch 12 it appears Rosinski probably committed suicide.

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WOODRUFF - Sixty-three Wildfires burned all across the state in the last week.

The DNR suspended burning permits in 44 counties Monday, including all counties in the Northwoods.

The fire danger level ranged from "High" to "Very High" in most counties.

DNR fire crews have been on stand-by all day Monday.

"On days like today we are fully staffed and on high alert. All our stations are pre-positioning equipment. We're taking equipment from one part of the state and moving it to more critical areas. We are definitely on high alert," said Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele.

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VILAS COUNTY - Twelve jurors will consider a he said, she said case involving accusations of a sexual assault at knife point.

The trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets began in Vilas County Court Monday morning.

Teets is accused of sexually assualting a 19 year old woman at knife point in July 2015.

He faces three counts of first degree sexual assault, which he will try to fight in trial.

After several hours of jury selection, attorneys began their opening statements Monday afternoon.

According to the July 2015 criminal complaint, Teets and the woman involved were driving back to his house after watching fireworks with a group of people.

That's when the woman said Teets pulled out a knife and told her to drive down a dead end road. Assistant Attorney General Devra Ayala, who is prosecuting the case, said that Teets admits to always carrying a pocket knife.

Next, according to the complaint, the woman said Teets, knife in hand, sexually assaulted her.

According to the complaint, the woman said Teets told her, "If you tell anyone I'll [expletive] kill you."

According to the complaint, the woman said the group they had been with called both of their cell phones asking where they were. The woman claims Teets said he forgot his keys and told her to say the same.

Later that night, the woman called the police.

When police interviewed Teets, he said the encounter was consensual.

That's what Teets's defense attorney will try to argue. In his opening statement, defense attorney Steven Lucareli said Teets and the woman were friends and often joked with each other.

"He said from day one, 'I cheated on my wife,'" said Lucareli.

Lucareli also said the woman in this case had no injuries from the encounter.

The trial is scheduled on the calendar for the whole week.

Tuesday, the state will start calling its witnesses.

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