Janesville76.6°

Residents feel less safe after killings

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Stacy Vogel
January 15, 2007

Shaun Budde spent the weekend a little more aware of his surroundings.


"I look around, you know, to see who's behind me," he said.


The 26-year-old said he feels less safe since he learned about the triple homicide discovered Friday in a mobile home just south of Janesville.


"Janesville has become a more scary place," he said. "You never really hear about something like that happening here."


Budde is not alone.


Many Janesville residents say they feel less secure since 38-year-old Danyetta Lentz and her children-Nicole, 17, and Scott, 14-were found murdered in their home in Janesville Terrace mobile home park, 3315 S. Highway 51. The crime was the second triple homicide in Rock County history.


For Susan Strom, as with several residents The Janesville Gazette talked to Sunday, the fear comes from having no idea why the crime occurred.


"I personally feel less safe just because we don't know anything about it yet," she said. "We don't know if this was a domestic dispute or some crazy person."


While the community is fearful, loved ones and acquaintances are experiencing grief.


Parker High School-where Nicole was a junior and Scott a freshman-provided counselors to students this morning.


Hansen Funeral Home announced it was preparing for a memorial service as well as a visitation later this week. Brian Hansen said he was working with the family to establish a memorial fund to help with funeral expenses. He said the family wants the bodies cremated, and they hope to be able to buy a burial plot.


Hansen said the coroner's office informed him that the bodies would not be released until Tuesday, and he could not advance plans for services until then.


Autopsies were conducted on the three bodies Saturday, but officials declined to release details about the results. The autopsy indicates the deaths were the result of "complex homicidal violence," according to a sheriff's department press release.


The Rock County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the scene and interview people close to the victims, but investigators don't have any suspects, Sheriff Bob Spoden said.


Strom lives about a mile from the scene of the murders and worries about her three young children. She is more careful now to lock her doors and windows.


Other residents said they think the crime was a one-time event.


"It's a freak thing that happened," said Jeremiah Dodd, a resident of a nearby mobile home park. "I don't think it'll ever happen to me."


Dodd says his family keeps a gun in the home for protection, but he doesn't plan to change any of his habits because of the murders.


Even Spoden's wife and sons are concerned about the idea of a murderer on the loose, he said.


"Rock County and Janesville and Beloit are relatively safe communities, and that's why this is so shocking," he said.


Officials are working round-the-clock to find out who committed the crimes and to bring them to justice, Spoden said. Meanwhile, he suggested little ways residents can keep themselves safer:


-- Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.


-- Use common sense when leaving buildings. Look around to see who's nearby.


-- Be careful about the people you talk to or get involved with.


Kris Bakke, a 41-year-old Janesville resident, said she relies on God to protect her when she feels helpless to prevent tragedy.


"If there is someone out there, nutty, what are you going to do, other than what you normally do to protect yourself?" she asked.


Reporter Frank Schultz contributed to this article

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