Apache Junction woman, 80, charged in Wisconsin cold case murder

Investigators say she was involved in a ‘love triangle’ with victim
An Apache Junction-area woman has been arrested in connection to a "love-triangle" murder in 1985 that happened in Wisconsin.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 2:42 PM MST
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APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5/WEAU) — An 80-year-old Apache Junction woman has been charged in connection to a cold case murder in Wisconsin dating back nearly 40 years. Arizona’s Family sister station WEAU reports that Mary Josephine Bailey was taken into custody at her home early Monday after being charged with first-degree murder.

The charge stems from the death of 45-year-old Yvonne Menke, who was killed on the morning of Dec. 12, 1985, in St. Croix Falls, Wis. Investigators say Menke was shot three times in the head and neck as she left home to go to work. A person of interest, described as a woman, was seen fleeing an alley where her car was parked just after gunshots were heard.

According to the criminal complaint filed this week, investigators spoke with Menke’s boyfriend, Jack Owen, and others after the shooting. “Law enforcement learned that for the past several years, Jack Owen, Yvonne Menke, and Mary Jo Lunsmann, now known as Mary Jo Bailey, had been involved in somewhat of a ‘love triangle,’” a section of the complaint states. The documents say Owen often dated Menke and Lunsmann (Bailey) at the same time over a number of years and that some witnesses suggested that Bailey was responsible for the murder.

Investigators reopened the case in late 2021 and spoke with Bailey again in January of this year, who again denied any involvement in Menke’s death. The 39-page complaint (below) summarizes the murder charge as based on the “well-documented ‘love triangle,’” witness statements, Bailey’s “suspected animosity” towards Menke and physical evidence collected at the scene. That includes boot prints that closely matched boots recovered from Bailey.

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