A young man disappears from Madison, Wisconsin, then two days later he’s found dead in Chicago.
In the spring of 1990, 19-year-old Chad Maurer was working in a bike shop in Madison, Wisconsin. A popular student and well-rounded athlete, Chad hoped to save up enough money to move to Colorado for college and snowboarding.
On the afternoon of May 19th, Chad returned home to grab a quick lunch before returning to work. Everything seemed normal, including Chad’s request for gas money. Chad’s mother, Dolly Maurer, remembers that day vividly:
Chad’s father, John Maurer, noticed nothing unusual either:
But Chad didn’t make it back to work. He ended up 150 miles away in the south side of Chicago, one of the roughest neighborhoods in the country. That’s where a maintenance worker found Chad’s car abandoned in the garage of a housing complex. Inside the car, Chad lay dead, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning. The Chicago police contacted the Maurers with the tragic news that their son had committed suicide. Chad’s mother could not believe it:
The Chicago police claimed there was no evidence of foul play, yet the knuckles on both of Chad’s hands had been skinned to the bone and there were bruises on his face. When the Maurers asked to see Chad’s old clothes, they found them stained with blood. John and Dolly began to fear that their son had been murdered. They went to review police photos of their son’s body, along with Dane County Sheriff’s Department Detective David Bongiovani:
The jacket was another clue pointing to the involvement of an unknown person in Chad’s death. The autopsy report also suggested that Chad had not taken his own life. The level of carbon monoxide in his body was 74%, much higher than usually found in a suicide. While the findings proved that Chad had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the extremely high levels suggested he had been put in the car while unconscious, rather than getting into the car under his own power. Det. Bongiovani:
The cause of Chad’s death was changed from suicide to undetermined and authorities began a full-blown investigation. The bike shop owner was quoted in a local newspaper saying he thought Chad had seemed afraid. Soon after the article appeared, the shop was vandalized. No other stores in the area were hit. It appeared someone was sending a message.
Chad’s story was aired on a local Crime Stoppers program in Madison. After the broadcast, a caller left a disturbing tip alleging that Chad was involved in a drug deal with people who lived in his apartment complex. These same people had previously lived on the south side of Chicago. Sgt. John W. Ridges is with the Chicago Police Department:
Det. Bongiovani has his own theories:
Sgt. Ridge thinks that someone in the Madison area may know more than they are willing to tell:
Chad’s mother, Dolly, is left to deal with the pain of not knowing: