Hartford, WI — A Wisconsin teenager has been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett, a college actress who was found strangled to death last month.
Daniel Joseph Bartelt was charged Wednesday with a felony count of first-degree intentional homicide. The 19-year-old was also charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, false imprisonment — all felonies.
Jessie Blodgett was found dead in her home Monday, July 15, after wrapping up a performance of Fiddler On The Roof. She had gone to a cast part after a Sunday matinee, and her mother said she came home after 1 am Monday. The mother left clothes in Blodgett’s room around 8 am and went to work. When she came back after noon, she discovered that her daughter was dead.
Police found ligature marks on Blodgett’s left wrist, ankles, and neck, and a preliminary autopsy said she died from ligature strangulation. Police found a roll of tape under Blodgett’s bed, and investigators later found fingerprints that matched Bartelt’s.
Bartelt and Blodgett were classmates at Hartford Union High School, where they were both active in the music program. The two used to date, and had begun spending time together again. They recorded a song together in May and posted it on YouTube. Bartelt wanted to be more than friends, but Blodgett did not.
According to a criminal complaint, Bartelt told authorities that he learned of Blodgett’s death through a friend. He attended a vigil at her parents’ house the day after she was found.
An investigator found a disc that contained bits of a novel titled Red Is Red, written by Joseph Bartelt. One part of the novel focused on a character named Jessica, and another part focused on a character with a “D” name. That character beats another person into a coma with a pillowcase filled with Legos.
A search of Bartelt’s laptop turned up searches for serial killers, including a Wikipedia search for “list of serial killers by number of victims.” Other serial killers were searched specifically by name.
Daniel Joseph Bartelt faces life in prison and is being held on $750,000 cash bond. He is scheduled to appear back in court September 4. He has also been charged in an unrelated assault case in which he approached an unknown woman in a park, tackled her, and cut her with a knife. Bartelt told police the attack, which took place three days before Blodgett’s murder, was a “spur of the moment” decision.
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[Photo credit: Jessie Blodgett / Facebook]