OSHKOSH- A group of anthropology students at UW-Oshkosh are getting their hands dirty for a good cause.
The class, led by professor Jordan Karsten is working alongside the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, to help close the final loophole in a missing persons case 38 years in the making.
Starkie Swenson was last seen riding his bike in Neenah in 1983. Police say he was involved in a love triangle with a woman, and the man who eventually was convicted of his murder, John Andrews.
“His body’s never been recovered, no human remains at all have ever been recovered,” Karsten said. “They [Winnebego Sheriff’s], wanted to talk about the best methods for searching for a buried body and how we might be able to discover it in an area of interests… so we put together a plan and my students are going to help in the process.”
Karsten says his students will play a role in every step of the process, from digging test pits, to surveying the land, to even using radars to discover a burial site.
“At the end of the day it’s a sad story… someone was murdered, and the family was never provided closure with this because a body was never found,” Karsten said. “The students have a real unique opportunity to contribute to their community to provide complete closure in this case.”
In addition to the field work this summer, Karsten’s class is also producing a podcast about the case itself and the work they’re doing to help find the body. The podcast is called Cold Case: Frozen Tundra.