APPLETON, WI — On November 15, 2006, someone made their way inside the duplex residence of 56-year-old Connie Boelter and savagely beat and murdered the popular local bank employee and beloved grandmother.
Concern arose immediately that Tuesday morning, as soon as Boelter failed to show up at the Wolf River Community Bank in Hortonville, where she had long worked as a loan processor.
Immediately, police had little to go on. Nobody had a bad word to say about Connie. The only lead was the repeated sighting of a dark green, four-door 1996 Ford Taurus in the area.
Regardless, Connie Boelter’s family and friends rallied to capture her killer. They raised reward money, stormed the Internet, took out ads, put up billboards, and worked tirelessly.
For nearly an entire decade, though, the search proved fruitless. Finally, in 2015, Appleton Police Sergeant Daniel Tauber personally informed Boelter’s killer: “Justice is coming.”
On May 1, 2016, Appleton authorities officially stated that they had a “person of interest:” James K. Olson, who had been the president of the Bank where Boelter worked at the time of her demise. Olson retired as the Wolf River Community Bank president in 2014. He continued to serve, though, on its board of directors — up until the police announcement, after which the bank said Olson was stepping down “by mutual agreement.”
Following the police announcement, USA Today acquired 533 pages of legal documents related to the case that had been sealed until that April.
The files revealed that Olson “had significant debt and appeared to violate bank practices and federal loan requirements.” In addition, Tauber stated in a 2015 affidavit:
“[Connie Boelter] would have had direct knowledge if there was any illegal or unethical activity taking place…. Based on the fact Connie Boelter entered loans into the general ledger and had concerns over recent loans she discussed with another bank employee days prior to her death, this affiant is concerned there is a connection between unethical banking practices and Connie Boelter’s death.”
On top of that, USA Today reported other powerful findings among the files such as:
• Police labeled Boelter’s murder “a crime of passion” that arose from a sudden emotional outburst.
• There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle, indicating Boelter knew her attacker and let him in.
• A neighbor saw a man fitting Olson’s description slipping out of Boelter’s duplex on the day of the killing.
• Olson owned a green 1996 Ford Taurus, the make and model of the car spotted near the crime scene.
• A witness saw Olson outside an adult bookstore wearing a shirt that appeared covered in blood spatter.
• Within 12 months following the murder, Olson personally took down all the reward posters from two Wolf River Community Bank branches. He told workers and even Connie Boelter’s daughter, “Well, it’s been a year, it’s time to move on.”
• The FBI found latent fingerprints connecting Olson to the scene.
• During a 2012 police interview, Olson referred to Boelter’s death as “an accident.”
When USA Today contacted Olson, he said: “I wish that this would stay out of the paper.” No doubt about that. In the meantime, Olson hightailed it out of Wisconsin and relocated to Alaska.
Still, James K. Olson has not been arrested, nor even officially deemed a suspect. No formal charges have been filed. How much more work will need to be done before, indeed, “justice is coming” for Connie Boelter?
Appleton authorities ask anyone with information regarding Connie Boelter’s homicide to call the department at (920 832-5500 or Lieutenant Polly Olson at (920) 832-6089. Anonymous tips can be sent by text to CRIMES (274-637) with the keyword APDTIPS at the start of the message.
Main photo: Connie Boelter missing poster/official website [publicity image]