Missing Lincoln County Grandmother Allegedly Stabbed, Strangled; Husband Faces Murder ChargesSubmitted: 05/13/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

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.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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VILAS COUNTY - In July, Karen Wessel gave her life to save a boy from drowning in Vilas County's Star Lake. Now she is being recognized for her heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Wessel as one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie medal. It's presented to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while trying to save the life of another.

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