Local law enforcement following up on man who says he killed Terry Dolowy in 1985 cold case

MADISON, Wis. – La Crosse County Sheriff John Siegel and Vernon County Sheriff Roy Torgerson released a joint statement today regarding a 38 year old murder case. In 1985 Terry Dolowy was a 24-year-old student at UW-La Crosse who lived in Barre Mills and whose body was found decapitated in Vernon County field.

Sheriff Siegel and Sheriff Torgerson released the following statement today regarding a recent report that someone confessed to Dolowy’s murder.

LaCrosse County Sheriff John Siegel and Vernon County Sheriff Roy Torgerson are aware of the recent news story regarding the Terry Dolowy investigation. Despite its age, this case, like all cold cases, remains under active investigation and therefore no comments will be forthcoming in keeping with standard practice for active investigations.

Sheriff John Siegel
Sheriff Roy Torgerson

September 12, 2023
3:30 PM

The report the two sheriffs are referring to is a report from Madison TV station WKOW that says a patient at Madison’s Mendota Mental Health Center told a nurse that he killed Dolowy. The nurse then reported the information to the Madison Police Department. Madison police then contacted Vernon County and La Crosse County authorities.

La Crosse County Sheriff John Siegel

The report goes on to say that Vernon County Detective Scott Bjerkos, who has been investigating the Dolowy murder for 25 years, has been in contact with the man. Bjerkos told WKOW they had previously investigated the man because of his relationship with Dalowy’s fiance, and he spoke to the man again, but was unable to corroborate his statement. Bjerkos also told WKOW the man previously told authorities he was “involved” in Dolowy’s killing but they were “unable to link him.”

“We have no information that he was around Terry during the time or prior to the time she was reported missing,” Bjerkos said.

Investigators have previously followed up with other leads over the years including exhuming Dolowy’s body from an Illinois cemetery in 2007 to do DNA testing. Dolowy’s case is still listed on the Wisconsin Department of Justice missing persons page.

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