Officials arrest Orfordville man in homicide

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staff, Gazette
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

— The Rock County Sheriff's Office has arrested a rural Orfordville man on suspicion that he fatally shot his neighbor last week in a barn on his property.

Sheriff's officials arrested Daniel F. Bellard, 75, of West Stuart Road in the town of Plymouth, on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide, according to a news release from the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

Bellard is in custody at University Hospital, Madison, where he remains in stable condition, according to the news release.

Police think Bellard shot Christine M. Gestrich, 59, who lived next door in the rural community outside Orfordville in western Rock County.

Police were called to West Stuart Road at 8:18 a.m. Wednesday. There they found Gestrich's body in a barn across the road from Bellard's house, Sheriff Robert Spoden said. Patrol deputies and members of the county's SWAT team formed a perimeter around the properties, blocking off roads and snowmobile trails in the area.

Authorities heard a shot while getting into position, Spoden said. Within about two hours, deputies found Bellard seriously injured in a shed near his house. Deputies found a shotgun on the ground near Bellard, Spoden said.

A court appearance has not been set.

Detectives continue to investigate, according to the news release.

The Gazette requested a copy of the 911 call reporting the incident. Such recordings are public record.

The request was denied at the direction of the sheriff's office and Rock County District Attorney's office because the case remains under investigation, according to documents from the Rock County Communications Center.

Gestrich's funeral was Monday.

Last updated: 8:11 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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