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Franklin man accused of killing two people and burning their bodies

Posted at 4:47 PM, Jan 15, 2019

FRANKLIN, Wis. — The Franklin man accused of killing two people and burning their bodies on a rural, Walworth County property made his first court appearance Tuesday.

In a criminal complaint, investigators allege 43-year-old Matthew Neumann killed two of his own employees.

Neumann owns a Franklin business called Spot Free Cleaning, according to police. He also lives in Franklin.

"The charges in this case are a result of an arson investigation being conducted by the Milwaukee Police Department in early January," Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva said in a news release.

"While assisting in this investigation, Franklin Police investigators uncovered information of a potential homicide by (Neumann) and linked him to reports of two missing men," the release continued.

A witness who the criminal complaint said resides with Neumann may have spotted one victim's body in his pickup truck Jan. 2.

The complaint said the witness "observed a white male, 35-40 years old, in the passenger seat, slumped down ... and observed no signs of life from the male."

That pickup truck was later that day found torched near 8th and Becher in Milwaukee. Police were still able to identify bullet fragments and blood inside.

Upon questioning from investigators, Neumann said one of his employees had been using the truck, the criminal complaint alleges.

A different witness tipped Franklin Police off to a property in East Troy that Neumann previously leased for hunting, according to the complaint. On that property, investigators eventually found a Spot Free Cleaning trailer and human remains in a large burn pit.

"Remains of two different bodies were discovered in the burn pit," Oliva said.

Neumann was also captured on surveillance video buying charcoal, lighter fluid and 2x4 boards at a nearby Home Depot beforehand, according to the criminal complaint.

Neumann is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse.

Oliva said more charges could follow once forensic evidence confirms the identities of the two victims found in the burn pit. Although he reiterated that investigators believe they know who the victims are.

Oliva declined to discuss a motive for the killings, but the criminal complaint cites a statement from a witness that Neumann told somebody he'd shot one victim "over a pack of squares."