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Monday, January 5, 2009

[WI] Death Of An Officer - "Our daughter, Natalie Wagner"

WIOfficerNatalieWagner.gifNatalie Wagner
Shorewood Officer Natalie Wagner was killed by shotgun in presence of boyfriend Milwaukee Officer Michael Quigley. Quigley was cleared and has changed his name to Michael Patrick Austin


Our daughter, Natalie Wagner, 24, a police officer for the village of Shorewood, Wisconsin, was killed by a shotgun blast to the head on July 26, 1994, in the presence of her live-in boyfriend, Michael Quigley, an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department. Quigley's own department had jurisdiction and, after three days of slanted testamony, ruled Natalie's death a suicide.

Natalie had been having problems with Michael Quigley for some time. She had told her (police) partner that she was planning to leave Quigley and was just trying to find a way to do so without hurting him. She had told another friend that Quigley acted crazy, and she was afraid for her life. She was apparently dovetailing romances and had recently begun a relationship with Mark Meyers, an officer with her own department.
On the night of her death, Natalie worked until midnight and then accompanied three co-workers to a bar in Officer Quigley's patrol area. One of those coworkers was her new boyfriend, Mark Meyers. When they left the bar, Natalie and Mark were holding hands, and Quigley, who was on duty, confronted them on the sidewalk and threatened to arrest Mark if he wouldn't leave. According to a friend, who witnessed the confrontation, a very intense argument followed. After the argument, Quigley deserted his beat and surreptitiously tailed Natalie back to the apartment in his squad car.
When she got home, Natalie phoned Mark Meyers, but their conversation was cut short by Quigley's arrival, and Natalie hung up without even saying goodbye. Twenty minutes later Mark's phone rang again, but when he answered, "Hello? Hello?", he was greeted by silence and then the click of the receiver being hung up. Mark expected Natalie to come to his place and posted a sign on his door instructing her to let herself in and come up to his room.
Quigley went back to the station to deposit his squad car and returned to the apartment in his personal vehicle. About ten minutes later, a gunshot awakened a physician who lived upstairs. The physician called 911 and told the operator that the couple downstairs were police officers and that the man was screaming that he had just shot somebody. Then, Quigley made his own call to 911, stating that he was a police officer and that his girlfriend had just blown half her head off. He, then, threw down the receiver and started screaming, "Why did you do it? Why did you do it?" The physician ran downstairs to see if he could help.
According to the physician, he was never questioned by police about what he saw, but police did ask him to change the context of the 911 call in which he stated, "The man downstairs is screaming he's just shot somebody. Can't you hear him?" When questioned by our family, this witness described a scene that was totally different from what was described in police reports and scene photos. (For example, he said that when he arrived at the apartment, the shotgun was not on the bed next to Natalie as it is in the photos.) He told us that the first officer who arrived at the scene, (a friend of Michael Quigley), began altering evidence and moving things around. The doctor also told us that the officer responsible for supervising Quigley (a personal friend) stated that Quigley could use the bathroom but to leave the door open, which gave him a chance to wash his hands before taking a primer residue test. (The officer later said under oath that he went into the bathroom with Quigley. The doctor was so intimidated that he changed his story.)
The Milwaukee Police Department proclaimed Natalie's death a suicide within three days. Later, when we read their reports, we discovered that they did no fingerprinting and collected no blood evidence. The senior fingerprint expert, who was called at home to come to the scene, was turned away at the door. He later told a friend of his, "This whole thing stinks."
Quigley was allowed to return to the apartment unsupervised the week after the shooting. He later told Natalie's friends that he dug Natalie's teeth out of the bedroom wall and carried them in his mouth during the funeral. When we questioned him about that bizarre behavior, he told us he no longer possessed the teeth, because his mom had confiscated them when he slept the night at her house. Later that week, Quigley's Milwaukee PD friends ripped out the carpeting in the bedroom and threw out anything they branded "contaminated." The Shorewood Police Chief ordered Natalie's new boyfriend, Officer Mark Myers, not to talk to us.
Quigley told three different stories about his whereabouts before finally admitting he was present when Natalie was shot. He, then, claimed that Natalie shot herself because he was breaking up with her. We kept in daily contact with Quigley for over four months, in an effort to get more information. On Natalie's birthday, July 31, 1994, while under the influence of alcohol and medication, he told me that he was responsible for her death. He also stated that the two of them had recently had two confrontations with guns, once with her service gun and the other with a shotgun that he had purchased a month earlier and kept loaded in their apartment. Natalie's friends and coworkers described Quigley as obsessive and jealous, and a fellow officer stated that Quigley had tailed Natalie on other occasions while on duty.
Quigley returned to work and was assigned for a number of months to the Sixth District, on the same shift with the very officers who investigated Natalie's death. An officer at the station told us that the subject of Natalie's death was never discussed.
Nine months later the DA ordered an inquest. Shortly before it took place, Quigley threatened to kill Mark Myers.
The sequestered inquest began on May 1. 1995, and lasted six days. The whole procedure was a farce. The police were allowed to submit copies of documents when the originals were missing, but we were not. Despite the presiding judge's request that the DA provide us with the list of witnesses to be called, that was never done, and most of our requested witnesses were not called. The few who were subpoenaed were questioned about Natalie's drinking habits, and not the issues we raised about our daughter's death. The police and DA allegedly couldn't locate the eyewitness to the confrontation on the street, despite the fact that we provided them with contact information. Contrary to what he had stated to us earlier, the physician (first person at the scene) agreed under oath that the staged scene pictures were essentially what he saw. We were not allowed to raise questions about the sign that Mark Meyers placed on his door that night, with its implication that he anticipated Natalie's arrival. When I testified about Quigley's statement to me, "Mrs. Wagner, I killed her," Quigley denied having said that.
Quigley's story was that, when he returned home with his personal car at 4:30 a.m., he found Natalie sitting on the couch. He said she told him she loved him, but they also argued, and she hugged him and, then, swore at him and went into the bedroom, got into bed and huddled under the covers. He said that he was undressing and started walking back out of the room when he heard a loud noise. He said that at first he did not realize what had happened and, moments later, was shocked to discover that she had blown half her head off.
In light of all the untrue testimony presented at the inquest, and the information and evidence that was not allowed to be included, it was not surprising that the jury quickly concluded that Natalie committed suicide. Our family's shock and dismay are indescribable, not only over the way the case was investigated but the way the inquest was conducted.
After the inquest, Quigley had his name legally changed to "Michael Patrick Austin."
Melinda and Robert Wagner


  • Police still mum on officer's death - Jul 28, 1994
  • Shorewood officer's death was suicide, police conclude - Jul 29, 1994
  • Officer's suicide questioned - Jul 27, 1994
  • Officer killed herself, inquest jury determines - May 7, 1995
  • Secrets don't last, town officer discovers - Sepr 14, 2004
  • Playing blame game as an officer departs - Dec 16, 2004
  • Ex-cop suing over resignation - Dec 23, 2004
  • Additional info


Police still mum on officer's death
Milwaukee Sentinel
July 28, 1994
For the second consecutive day, Milwaukee police declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the death of Natalie Wagner, a probationary Shorewood police officer and ballet dancer.
Milwaukee police said Wagner, 24, appeared to have committed suicide by shooting herself in her south side home about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
She shared the home in the 2800 block of South 33rd Street with a boyfriend a Milwaukee police officer.
Shorewood Police Commander Raymond Van Male said that Wagner's service weapon was inside her locker at work when she died.
Milwaukee police declined to comment on what weapon was used, or on other specifics of the case.
Police also requested that medical examiner's reports on the shooting not be made available to the media.


Shorewood officer's death was suicide, police conclude Shot herself
in Milwaukee home shared with boyfriend
Milwaukee Sentinel
July 29, 1994
A probationary Shorewood police officer killed herself with a shotgun blast to the chin during an argument with her Milwaukee police officer boyfriend early Tuesday morning, police said Thursday.
The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office officially ruled the death of Natalie L. Wagner, 24, a suicide in a preliminary report made public Thursday.
Before Thursday, authorities had declined to discuss the
incident or release the medical examiner's report because the investigation was ongoing.
Milwaukee Police Chief Philip Arreola said in a prepared statement there was no evidence to indicate Wagner "suffered anything other than an intentionally self-inflicted gunshot wound that ultimately caused her death."
Arreola said the conclusion was based on physical evidence and "careful examination of the circumstances surrounding this incident," which occurred about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday in a Milwaukee apartment the couple shared in the 2800 block of South 33rd Street.
While the medical examiner's report reached the same conclusion as the Milwaukee police investigation, it gave a slightly different account of the incident.
The medical examiner's report said a Milwaukee police detective told an investigator that the boyfriend had just returned home from working a late shift and was either walking up to the apartment or just entering it when he heard a loud bang, entered the bedroom and found Wagner.
The police account clearly places the boyfriend inside the apartment having a verbal disagreement with Wagner just before the incident occurred.
The account said the couple argued, Wagner entered a bedroom, took a loaded shotgun from a closet, lay on the bed and shot herself in the head.
The boyfriend called police after hearing the shot and seeing Wagner mortally wounded in the bedroom.
Police Inspector Vincent Partipilo said the discrepancy between the police account and the medical examiner's report was due to a miscommunication early in the investigation.
He said the police account accurately reflected the
investigation's findings.
The medical examiner's report is considered preliminary.
The Milwaukee police officer was placed on administrative leave for one day after the incident and is currently off, on his own time, Arreola said.
There is no record of calls from the couple's home for police assistance during the three months prior to Wagner's death the only records kept on tape, police said.
Her father, Robert Wagner, of Fox Point, told an investigator the morning of her death that he had last seen her July 4 when they had breakfast together and watched a parade.
Since she joined the Shorewood police force earlier this year, she had not "had good communication" with her parents, Mr. Wagner said.
She did not return telephone messages left on her answering machine, so her parents assumed she had been extra busy with the new job.
Mr. Wagner also told investigators his daughter was diabetic, took insulin and to his knowledge did not drink or take drugs because of her medical condition.
He said he was not aware of any problems with depression, but was sure she would have sought help if she needed it.
Natalie Wagner was class valedictorian when she graduated from Milwaukee High School of the Arts.
She was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee criminal justice program and the Waukesha County Technical College police recruit school.
She joined the Shorewood Police Department Jan. 17, 1994, and was seven months into an 18-month probationary period.
The Milwaukee Sentinel featured Wagner in a Feb. 10 story on her police work and dancing background.
Services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Feerick Funeral Home, 2025 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood. Visitation will begin at 1:30 p.m.
The family suggested memorials to the American Diabetes Association.


Officer's suicide questioned
Policewoman was also in ballet troupe

Milwaukee Sentinel
July 27, 1994
Members of a local ballet group do not believe that a fellow dancer and probationary Shorewood police officer killed herself, the ballet company's founder said Tuesday.
"I don't believe, until someone can prove it to me, that it was suicide," said Susie Bauer, of Milwaukee's Bauer Contemporary Ballet.
Milwaukee police Tuesday said Natalie Wagner, 24, appeared to have committed suicide by shooting herself in her home around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
She shared the home in the 2800 block of South 33rd Street with a boyfriend a Milwaukee police officer.
"The woman was the most beautiful person inside and out. She had her feet solidly placed on the ground. She was extremely intelligent," Bauer said.
"No, this is not Natalie. No one believes she could have done it."
Milwaukee police declined to release any details on the shooting as late as 10 p.m. Tuesday night.
The medical examiner's report also was being withheld by order of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Wagner, 24, was in field training with the Shorewood Police Department at the time of her death.
She joined the department about six months ago, according to Shorewood Police Commander Raymond Van Male.
Van Male, who referred all questions about Wagner's death to the Milwaukee Police Department, said there was no indication that Wagner was depressed.
Shorewood police said the gun used in the suicide was not issued by the Shorewood department.
"From all indications, it had nothing to with her job," Van Male said. "She was a bright, energetic officer, and we had no indication from her behavior or job performance that there was a problem."
Wagner was progressing well through her 18-month probationary period, Van Male said.
The Milwaukee Sentinel featured Wagner in a Feb. 10 feature story on her police and dancing work.
Bauer said Wagner had been a dancer in her studio since she was a teenager.
Bauer said she was having a difficult time getting information from the Milwaukee police on the shooting.
"I've talked to her parents a couple of times, and no one is saying anything to them," Bauer said.
Police declined to release the name of the Milwaukee police officer with whom Wagner lived, or what time he was working the night of the suicide.
The near south side residence appeared empty, and no one answered the doorbell when a reporter rang it Tuesday evening.
Wagner, who had danced since age 6, was a graduate of Milwaukee High School of the Arts and a 1992 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee criminal justice program.
She attended Waukesha County Technical College police training classes earlier this year after she was hired for the Shorewood job, Van Male said.
Milwaukee Police Chief Philip Arreola contacted the Shorewood Police Department Tuesday to express his condolences, Van Male said.


Officer killed herself, inquest jury determines Boyfriend testifies
she was depressed over end of relationship
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mike Nichols
May 7, 1995

In love with Natalie Wagner but upset by her self-destructive drinking, 27-year-old Milwaukee police officer Michael Quigley spent the early morning hours of July 26 trying to end their relationship.
Wagner, unable to accept no for an answer, lying slightly inebriated underneath a goose down comforter in the bed they shared, hugged a shotgun and ended it herself instead.
That was the story a Milwaukee County inquest jury heard, and believed, Saturday. After a weeklong inquest requested by Wagner's parents, the jury, deliberating just 30 minutes, determined that Wagner killed herself with a 12-gauge shotgun and left Quigley standing just feet away in shock.
"I saw that there was just blood all over and it did not register what had happened. I turned around again and then ran to the bed," Quigley said. "She had blown half her head off."
Quigley, who knew Wagner for five years and talked about getting engaged, was not the only one in disbelief.
Wagner was, by many accounts, an intelligent, extremely pretty, caring, 24-year-old woman with a penchant for dance
Leg 1 ends here and a slew of admirers.
More than nine months after her death and long after detectives and the Milwaukee County coroner ruled it a suicide, her parents sat in the front row of the gallery Saturday peppering witnesses with an endless litany of written questions about how and why.
And raising doubts about Quigley himself.
"He looked me straight in my face and said `Mrs. Wagner, I killed her,' " Natalie Wagner's mother testified, adding that she was not sure whether Quigley, who was drunk and medicated at the time, meant he physically killed her or that he simply felt responsible.
Quigley, for his part, firmly denied he shot his girlfriend
but acknowledged that he felt he bore some responsibility for her death.
Although they had known each other for years, Quigley and Wagner first began dating in the summer of 1993. She, too, was a police officer, and worked in Shorewood on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift.
She was also, according even to her mother, an alcoholic.
The night of her death, according to Quigley, Wagner went out to a North Ave. bar Leg 2 ends here with some co-workers. Quigley, who was on duty, knew she was there and confronted them as they left the bar.
"I told her," he said, "this was the final straw."
According to Quigley, wagner, who had been drinking, got into his squad car and the two drove down to the lakefront, then back to the east side. He says he told her "that was it. It was over with. That she didn't want my help."
Around 2:30 a.m., Wagner drove herself home to the south side and Quigley followed, but only briefly went inside before heading back to work.
"She asked again if I still had planned to end the
relationship," he told the inquest jury. "I said I did."
There, in retrospect, were signs that Wagner was troubled.
At least twice in the weeks before her death, according to Quigley's testimony, they had confrontations involving guns. Once, he testified, he came home to find her sitting on the couch in the dark with only the "night sight" on her service weapon glowing in front of her. Another time, he says, she pointed a shotgun at him and "said if she caught me with another woman, she would blow Leg 3 ends here my head off."
Quigley was asked several times why he left the shotgun in their apartment after that incident. He said he thought she was "bluffing. I never thought she was actually going to use it."
It was no bluff.
He does not remember where he parked when he got home shortly before 4:30 a.m. that night, only that he went into the house and found Wagner on the couch.
He told the jury that she told him she loved him, but that they also argued; that she hugged him but also swore at him before going into the bedroom.
According to testimony of Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen, Wagner apparently crawled underneath the comforter with the shotgun. Her right hand was on the trigger, he believes, based on powder marks and other evidence. Her left hand was holding the muzzle underneath her chin.
She was crying, Quigley says, when he entered the room, but all that was visible was the top of her head and a shoe.
"I said all I wanted to see was some initiative," said Quigley, who was undressing and started walking back out of the bedroom when he heard a loud, Leg 4 ends here muffled sound. At first, he says, he thought it was a fist slamming drywall.
On the 911 tape of him calling police moments later, he is heard screaming at his girlfriend's body: "Why did you do it? Why did you do it?"
That, said Assistant District Attorney William Molitor, was the endless question.
"Everybody," he said in his closing, "asks why? why? why?"
Wagner died, Jentzen said, of "massive cranial destruction." There was no evidence of any other physical trauma, no indication she had been beaten or assaulted, and he thinks she was alive when she was shot because with her last breaths she inhaled blood into her lungs.
But that only tells how.
At times during testimony of half a dozen individuals Saturday, blame seemed to shift toward any number of people who might have helped, but Molitor concluded in the end that everyone was "seeking a rational explanation for an irrational act."
In the end, he asked the jury to do what it quickly did: find that the person who pulled the trigger was no one but Natalie Wagner herself.


Secrets don't last, town officer discovers

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
September 14, 2004
LAUREL WALKER; of the Journal Sentinel staff; Milwaukee
You've heard it said, surely, that in small towns there are no secrets.
So in rural Waukesha County, in the Town of Mukwonago, you'd understand some fallout when purported, 10-year-old skeletons are yanked from a closet - in this case, off the Internet - and they concern no less than a town cop.
"A lot of people don't like the police," says Grant Turner, town police chief, "and if they can find out anything about us, they will."
In the case of Michael Austin, a town police officer for the past 18 months and, before that, a Milwaukee cop for 10 years, there seems enough wafting smoke fanned by critics that it's a wonder someone hasn't pulled the fire alarm.
Turner himself, whose department has six full- and three part-time police officers, adds to the intrigue.
On the one hand, he ordered Austin home on paid suspension weeks ago while investigating undisclosed "internal" issues. More than two weeks after he said he'd be done, he's still investigating.
On the other hand, he gave credit to Austin, saying, "He took a lot of drugs off the street out here, even in this community," drawing on his "special squad" experience investigating drug dealing and violent crimes in Milwaukee.
"A lot of people do call and complain because he is a very aggressive officer and he made a lot of arrests and they weren't happy with him," Turner said.
Austin grew up in Mukwonago and graduated from Mukwonago High School in 1986, where folks might remember him as Michael Quigley - the name he legally changed to Austin in 1995 while still a Milwaukee officer. The change came less than a month after an inquest jury found that Austin's girlfriend, Shorewood Police Officer Natalie Wagner, committed suicide by shooting herself in the head in Austin's presence a year earlier.
Austin noted that those events were publicized in news stories at the time. He continued to work in the Milwaukee Police Department after that and with his new name. And he grew up in Mukwonago, where people knew him as Quigley.
"It's not like you're trying to hide," Austin said.
Oddly enough, though, he shared the name change but nothing about the Wagner case with Turner before he was hired. Police Commission Chairman Karl Miller said he knew nothing about either until I told him. Turner became aware of the Wagner investigation only when another officer told him about it shortly after Austin was hired.
Stranger still - and troubling, too - is that no background check for a police hire produced such information. Miller, for one, considered it "kind of shocking, really," and added: "I sure would have asked him about it. It makes you wonder, you know?"
Regardless of what they knew then, town officials who know it now say it is irrelevant, given the results of the investigation.
Though the medical examiner and police, along with the inquest jury, concluded Wagner's death was a suicide, Wagner's parents raise questions of a coverup on Web sites. One is titled "Real coverup and corruption by law enforcement; Real family frustration and heartbreak" while another identifies the Wagner case as "(suicide/homicide?)."
Austin knows about the Web sites.
"For me, it was a traumatic incident," he said. "I still feel bad for (Wagner's parents), but at the same time this is dragging on 10 years, and certainly I didn't have anything to do with it."
For some critics who have crossed paths with Austin, the Wagner incident and name change are more ammunition.
Nell Hein, who with her husband owns Lucky Luke's Bait, Boats & Beer in Mukwonago, makes no bones about her dislike for Austin's tactics after a recent run-in with him at a restaurant.
She admits to circulating the Web pages - to the local gathering spots, to heads of the Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars, to a few customers - and if it helps chase Austin out of town, good.
Leslie Knueppel of the Town of Eagle, who claims Austin has it in for her son, whom he arrested twice, complained in May about Austin's tactics to the town. She's still waiting for a response.
"Then again, it's my word against him, and because he's a police officer and I'm a nobody with a kid who has drug charges, I feel helpless," she said. When she learned "through the grapevine" about Austin's history, she said she was glad word was getting out.
"He has no business being a police officer," she said.
They might get their wish - in the Town of Mukwonago, anyway. Austin told me and the chief that he'll likely be leaving the department shortly, but because he's got his own departmental complaints.
"He had a problem with my sergeant," Turner said, adding that the sergeant was "very by-the-book. When the book is violated, I'm told about it."
No secrets.


Playing blame game as an officer departs
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
December 16, 2004
Playing blame game as an officer departs
A Town of Mukwonago cop whose police methods and personal background had blood boiling and tongues wagging this year has quit the force rather than face the district attorney over claims he broke the law by filing a false police report.
Now the ex-cop, Michael Austin, has filed a federal lawsuit against Police Chief Grant Turner, Sgt. Thomas Czarnecki, Officer Christopher Heckman and the Town of Mukwonago, seeking $300,000 plus punitive damages. He claims he was forced to resign based on false claims and without due process.
It's a shooting match, with fingers pointing both ways.
The spotlight shone on the town police force this year when a resident began circulating Web pages that exposed Austin as the former Michael Quigley, a Milwaukee cop at the time whose girlfriend-cop committed suicide by shooting herself in his presence. Though an inquest jury agreed with that conclusion, the woman's parents pressed suspicions about Austin's involvement on the Web.
When I wrote about the case in September, town officials responsible for hiring Austin in early 2003 acknowledged they knew nothing about that history but said it might not have mattered. Some people, including me, wondered what kind of background check is done on police applicants there.
Top that off with complaints by residents who thought Austin was overly aggressive and abusing power. Town of Eagle resident Leslie Knueppel said she wanted to file a complaint with the Police Commission over Austin's treatment of her son, twice arrested by him on drug-related charges. All but one charge were eventually dismissed, though he recently pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor to put it behind him, she said.
Knueppel said Wednesday she was talked out of filing the formal complaint by town officials who assured her that her complaints were being taken seriously and were behind an investigation of Austin.
Austin was suspended with pay Aug. 4 and resigned Sept. 17 -- collecting $4,574 in pay and about $2,500 in benefits during that time, according to the town clerk.
Based on recently released records, it was a complaint other than Knueppel's that was Austin's undoing.
Town Police Officer Heckman filed a written complaint with his superiors stating that Austin lied on his report on a different arrest. Heckman's complaint indicated that prosecutors were planning to drop drug charges in the case because of "problems arising from our entry into the residence" and Austin said he would fix the problem.
Heckman wrote, "It is my belief that Officer Austin knowingly made false statements in his report" and left out other facts.
Chief Turner sent the matter in August to Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, who dropped it only after he had Austin's resignation letter -- dated Oct. 11, transmitted Oct. 22 and effective Sept. 17 -- in hand. Austin, who did not respond to my request for comment, said in his letter that he felt coerced to quit "due to numerous false claims of criminal misconduct made against me" by town police and the district attorney.
Bet some town officials -- who referred Austin's lawsuit to their insurer -- wish they'd checked a little deeper during the hiring process.
And Knueppel, who wanted him fired rather than allowed to resign, wonders whether he'll just land a job as a cop somewhere else.


Ex-cop suing over resignation
Town of Mukwonago, police chief among defendants
Waukesha Freeman (WI)
December 23, 2004
TOWN OF MUKWONAGO — A former town of Mukwonago police officer claims he was unfairly forced to resign from the department and has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking $300,000 in damages.
Michael Austin was given the choice in September to either resign or face potential charges on suspicion that he falsified a police report, according to court documents. He resigned Oct. 13 and six weeks later filed the suit.
Austin is requesting $300,000 because he believes the resignation led to a loss of salary, mental anguish, embarrassment and an inability to get another job, according to the suit.
The department claimed he provided false information in a case stemming from a September 2003 arrest for sexual assault and drug possession charges, according to the suit. In the suit, Austin denies the false report accusation.
Austin couldn't be reached for comment. His attorney, William Rettko, didn't return calls Wednesday.
Named defendants include town of Mukwonago police Chief Grant Turner, Sgt. Thomas Czarnecki and officer Chris Heckman.
Although $300,000 is a hefty sum for a town with a $3 million budget, its highest official, board Chairman David Dubey, declined to comment because of the pending litigation. The town referred the matter to its insurance carrier, The Horton Group.
"We have no comments whatsoever," said Michelle Strauss, the Horton Group agent overseeing the town's defense, when asked if an attorney had been hired yet.
Town Clerk Kathy Wilson said The Horton Group had hired an attorney, but she didn't know whom.
The false police report allegation against Austin stemmed from a case in which he and Heckman reportedly found marijuana at the home of a man suspected of committing sexual assault.
When the district attorney's office indicated the original police report didn't provide enough information for a drug conviction, Turner asked Austin to write a supplemental report, according to the suit. After Austin did so, prosecutors charged the man with sexual assault and marijuana possession.
It's unclear what aspect of the police report was in question and led to Austin's departure.
District Attorney Paul Bucher said he hadn't decided for certain whether to file charges against Austin at the time. But he did tell Austin to either resign or the investigation would continue into the false report allegation, Bucher said Wednesday.
"We made the decision to discontinue the investigation and not pursue formal criminal charges," Bucher said.
Turner was off work Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment.
(Kollin Kosmicki can be reached at kkosmicki@conleynet.com)


Present: Attorney J. Macy, Police Chief G. Turner and Clerk K. Wilson...
Page 2
...TOWN ATTORNEY -- Austin Lawsuit
J. Macy said the Austin matter is in Federal Court and there is a motion to dismiss the case based on Austin’s resignation. Court papers and depositions were filed with the Town Clerk...


I put this at the bottom because unless you are interested enough in the case - this is info that is superfluous. But if you are interested - it's notable:

Fri Dec 6 10:41:38 PST 2002: There isn't a story on this web site that isn't a horror story, but having just read the Natalie Wagner case, I've got to say that police officer Michael Quigley, aka Michael Patrick Austin, makes my blood run cold. Whether he blew his girlfriend's head off or not, (the evidence appears to indicate he did), to pry her teeth out of his bedroom wall and carry them in his mouth during the funeral is the sickest thing I ever heard of. And he's still in uniform! Imagine calling 911 in an emergency and having somebody like Officer Quigley turn up on your doorstep!
Response [from Natalie's mother]: Quigley actually had Natalie's teeth in his mouth for weeks after the funeral until his mother took them away when he was sleeping at her house. He, then, asked us for some of her cremains. The term for this is "trophate." Quigley/Austin also kept some of her jewelry, clothes and, we think, her driver's license. What disturbs me about this in particular, other than the obvious, is that he told her friends he had the teeth and his police officer buddies knew too - still, none of the officers involved in the initial cover-up or any of the rest of them has come forward to date. He is now living with someone with two children. We're not sure about marriage or if these are his children, but I truly worry about their safety.

[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities said alleged suicide murder unsolved unresolved wisconsin state]


  1. Hello,

    Do you happen to have a widget or something of the rotating photos that I could put on my blog? Its really powerful.

  2. [WI] Officer Natalie Wagner- cop husband says she committed suicide, family says no.

    1. AnonymousJuly 06, 2013

      Natalie was not married to Michael Quigley (aka Austin) and in fact, was preparing to leave him. It's on record that Quigley stalked Natalie both on and off-duty and she had stated to at least one person that she was afraid of him.

    2. AnonymousJuly 06, 2013

      the family is merely looking for the truth and to date, the MPD have been more interested in covering up the fact thas their officers moved things around when they arrived on the scene.

    3. I am talking to many families that are in the same situation that Natalie's family is in. Let's connect. cloudwriter@gmail.com

  3. Michael Quigley is a jokeSeptember 15, 2009

    wow, america is fuking pathetic to let that prick get away with murdering such a beautiful woman, it sickens me that such corruption is still the prolific in today's society. What goes around comes around and I hope to god that Michael Quigley gets what's coming to him.

  4. AnonymousMay 01, 2010

    A sad story. A young beautiful girl takes her own life; her family looking for blame; the boyfriend cant move on....sad all around.

  5. Are you the boyfriend? Otherwise I'm wondering how you know for sure what others wonder.

  6. Sad but there is true justice in God's court of law. One day the truth will come to the light and the cause of death will be known. If there is a murderer here, God will provide the sentence and send them the murderer to Hell and also those who covered it up!! A family does not want horror but peace in the death of a loved one. I can't imagine a family wanting to prolong the hell of not having justice. It is only unanswered questions or shoddy work that would ever make questions arise as to the cause of death. If officers would have done a job not subject to question there would be peace for this family!

  7. AnonymousJune 15, 2012

    R.I.P Natalie

  8. Michael Austin didnt do it he was never guilty and she killed her self the jury found him not guilty and that is how it will remain

  9. AnonymousMay 11, 2013

    I was Mike's partner and best friend on the department when Natalie died. I have emailed a detailed account of the incident in which I hope the site will post. I felt it was time to fill in some the gaps and correct some of Mr. Wagner's inaccuracies relating to his posted account.

  10. AnonymousMay 11, 2013

    I find it troubling that the rules of this site state no victim bashing yet I see a lot of Mike Quigley bashing. Mike was a victim here as well.

    1. AnonymousJune 05, 2013

      How was he a victim?

  11. I am surprised Michael Quigley has not sued this site. I hope one day her parents can find peace. There is a god and one day they will have to face him

  12. Suicide is sad for everyone involved - it leaves a lot of people with unanswered questions and some people simply cannot believe or accept it when it happens. Dr. Jentzen did not work for the Milwaukee Police Department. His findings are totally independent of any police investigation. He was a top notch Medical Examiner and if there was ANY indication that the evidence showed anything other than suicide, he would have reported it. Sorry, but a scene like the one at that house would have been too complex to alter in any way to cover up the facts - there are just too many indicators and too much evidence that he knows about, and how to look for it (many things too technical and not even known to police investigators) for anyone to be able to change any evidence at a scene like that without him knowing about it. May God grant peace to everyone affected by this tragedy.

    1. AnonymousJuly 20, 2017

      Dr. Jensen was under the direction of E. Michel McCann, and would have every incentive to determine the cause of death as suicide. An eye witness observed the MPD officers moving the guns around and other changes of the scene when the first officer's arrived. This alone would make any determination of homicide or suicide suspect. Ms. Wagner worked for D. A. McCann's during the Dahmer case trial and yet claimed he didn't know who she was. He should have recused himself and his office from investigating this death

  13. I am trying to reach the parents of Natalie Wagner, Melinda and Robert Wagner. Thanks!


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