Janesville85.4°

Work just beginning on murder case

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Stacy Vogel
January 13, 2007

All was quiet at the crime scene at the Janesville Terrace mobile home park Saturday afternoon.


A couple of squad cars guarded the area surrounded by police tape at lot 37, but the sheriff's deputies hardly seemed necessary in the deserted park.


The scene stood in stark contrast to Friday, when onlookers screamed and cried upon learning that three residents-38-year-old Danyetta Lentz and her children, Nicole, 17, and Scott, 14-had been found murdered in their home that morning.


But for Rock County Sheriff's Deputies, the work is just beginning, Sheriff Bob Spoden said.


Deputies and State Crime Laboratory officials reviewed evidence and took photographs at the mobile home until 3 a.m. Saturday. Detectives from the sheriff's department were at the scene again later that morning, "bagging and tagging" evidence and trying to recreate the last 48 hours of the victims' lives, Spoden said.


A different set of detectives will comb the home for clues today to make sure the first set didn't miss anything, he said.


"We're trying to be very methodical about this and make sure we cover every aspect of this scene," he said.


Autopsies were conducted on the victims Saturday at the VA Hospital in Madison. Spoden declined to reveal details about the results except to say that they confirmed that all three were murdered.


Once the evidence is collected, detectives will begin the process of figuring out what's relevant and how it relates to the case, Spoden said.


Meanwhile, officials began interviews with family and friends of the victims Saturday and expected to continue the process today, Spoden said. The department contacted Nicole and Scott's father, Thomas L. Lentz, in Texas, he said.


Danyetta's father, Russ Lucht, discovered the bodies Friday morning when he went to check on the family after Danyetta didn't show up for work and the children weren't at school.


Officials have also established a 24-hour tip line related to the murders.


The department is waiting for forensic evidence from the State Crime Laboratory, but the results probably won't be in for at least a few days, Spoden said. The lab has a much-publicized backlog of about 20 months, but the attorney general prioritizes cases based on severity.


"I'm quite confident the attorney general shares our concern and we'll get on the fast track" for forensic testing, Spoden said.


The process might seem slow, but it's the best way to relieve the fear and uncertainty created by the crime, possibly the worst in Rock County's history, Spoden said.


"It's disturbing for the community at large to think that three people met their end in such a violent way," he said. "Right now I think what we need to do is figure out what the facts are."



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