MERRILL - "She was just such an awesome lady that, it hurts, it really hurts," says Cliff Brown.|
Cliff, one of Anita Bucki's several brothers, is among those grieving her death.
That's what made hearing some of the things he did in court today even more painful.
"She had been stabbed, and there was bruising on the inside of her throat, indicating to the pathologist that she may have been strangled," Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy said at Mark Bucki's initial appearance Tuesday.
Mark, Anita's husband, had reported her missing from her rural Merrill home on April 26th.
But instead of a husband concerned for his missing wife, prosecutors believe he murdered her.
"There were seven stab wounds," Dunphy told reporters.
"There's anger. It's like, okay, you were her husband. You're supposed to protect her. Why all of a sudden is she found in the woods in a swamp? Are you kidding me?" asks Cliff.
A couple walking the forest in Taylor County found her body late last week, and she was identified Sunday.
Mark Bucki admitted to investigators he and Anita, a couple for nearly 27 years, were having a conversation about divorce, and he raised his voice.
He told police that after she supposedly disappeared, he ripped out carpeting from the bedroom, took some of Anita's belongings, and burned them.
"It certainly looks as if that carpeting was removed for a reason. And burned," Dunphy said.
A warrant led investigators to find blood in the home and on Mark Bucki's boots.
"Some of the blood was found in the living room, and I have a hard time believing Mr. Bucki dressed a deer," Dunphy told Judge John Yackel.
A police dog found signs of decomposing flesh in the bed of Mark Bucki's truck, on his boots, in the shower, in a burn barrel, and in what looked like a shallow by empty grave.
A week and a half after those discoveries, the discovery of Anita's body, with its stab wounds and throat bruising, was found in Taylor County.
Now, prosecutors think they have a strong case against Mark Bucki.
But Anita leaves behind the thing that was seemingly most important to her – her family.
"Her granddaughter was just everything to her," said Cliff.
Alauna had just turned one year old.
Now, she'll grow up without Grandma Anita.
"That's Anita in a nutshell right there," Cliff said of a picture of Alauna and Anita. "The smile on her face, the baby in her arms, it's beautiful. That's how we've got to remember her."
We'll wait to see if Anita's husband, Mark, will be found guilty for making remembering her the only way left to experience Anita Bucki.