MINOCQUA - Police officers rarely stop thinking about cases even years after they've happened. That's especially true in the nearly 36-year-old cold case murder in Minocqua. This week, police arrested Barbara Mendez's husband, Robin Mendez, 69, for her murder.
In 1982, Carl Gauger was just a nineteen year old dispatcher, when he got a call he'll never forget.
"When you've been involved in that type of investigation, it never truly goes cold," said Gauger.
At the time, Gauger was just two months into his job as a full-time dispatcher with the Minocqua Police Department.
"I received a phone call from an obviously distraught woman indicating a fellow employee, a friend of hers, appeared to be deceased on the floor," said Gauger.
On that day, April 28, 1982, police were called to the Park City Credit Union in Minocqua. There, they found the body of Barbara Mendez, bludgeoned to death.
"These investigations do not get completed without a massive amount of leg work, a lot of interviews need to be completed and frequently those interviews will number near a hundred," said Gauger.
Gauger, who's now a lieutenant for the Vilas County Sheriff's Office says he often thinks about that phone call.
"Unsolved and cold case homicides may be cold to the news. They may be cold to the public, but officers, who've been involved in them, regardless of what capacity they're involved, think about them frequently," said Gauger.
Now, towards the end of his career, Gauger says he's relieved to finally see someone arrested for Barbara Mendez's murder.
"To have this one come to a close at the time that it is at this time in my career, it feels good," said Gauger.
Newswatch 12 also spoke to Norbert McMahon on the phone Thursday. He was one of the first responding officers to the scene on April 28, 1982. He says he's glad to see this case come to an end.
Robin Mendez is currently in jail on a $250,000 cash bond.