John Schmutzer is a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, finance manager who was found stabbed to death on a hiking trail at Devil’s Lake, a scenic destination in central Wisconsin.

He worked for a bank in the Milwaukee area. Wauwatosa is a suburb in Milwaukee County. Police have not revealed whether they have a motive pinpointed. They have given a somewhat vague suspect description. The victim’s full name is John Craig Schmutzer, and he was employed in finance in the Milwaukee area.

 John Schmutzer Found Stabbed

Before the homicide, Schmutzer visited Hilldale Mall in Madison, Wildcat Mountain State Park in Vernon County, and in the LaValle area, said authorities, who indicated they aren’t sure whether the attack was targeted or random.

The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launched a homicide investigation around 11:38 a.m. on October 14, 2020.

According to a statement from the sheriff, the death “occurred on the Grottos trail on the South Side of Devils Lake State Park.” The park is located outside Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The next day, an autopsy was performed at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and the death was confirmed to be a homicide with the cause of death given as “stabbing.”

 Witness Statement

The Baraboo News Republic reported that “a witness saw a man attacked near the railroad tracks.” The newspaper also reported that “witnesses last saw the suspect walking toward the south shore parking lot,” and an aircraft was used in vain to try to “track” the suspect, with local businesses being shut down.

At that point, authorities identified the victim as John Craig Schmutzer, 24, from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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“This is an active, ongoing investigation. Most details of the investigation will be kept confidential until the conclusion of the investigation,” the sheriff wrote in a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page.

There were a number of campers in the area at the time. “I was camping for all of this. Talked to officials. They do have more info on possible descriptions based on interviews. I’m sure they have reasons why they are not sharing. So sad. I hope they find the man,” wrote one person on social media.


The call came in around 11:38 a.m. on October 14 as a “report of a disturbance, possible attempted homicide on the Grottos trail on the south side of Devil Lake State Park,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote.

“Upon the arrival of first responders, a 24-year-old male was found deceased on the trail, obviously from homicidal violence. The scene was secured and the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began a joint investigation into the incident,” police said in their initial statement.


Some biographical details of Schmutzer emerged. According to his LinkedIn page, he worked in commercial banking at BMO Harris Bank in Milwaukee, where he was a financial analyst. He had worked for the bank since January 2019.

Before that, he worked for Diversified Industries Group, Jefferies, as an investment banking analyst in the New York City area for six months in 2018. He was also employed there as an investment banking summer analyst.

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