Two ATV riders were making their way through the woods about two hours northwest of Green Bay, Wis. a couple of weeks ago when they saw what they thought was a suitcase in the trail near Bug Lake.
But it was a man, beaten and covered in blood.
The riders thought he was dead, but then the 40-year-old started speaking.
So the riders loaded him on the back of the ATV, took him to a nearby business, and called 911.
Hospital personnel made more unsettling discoveries: The man had multiple fractures to his head and face, including a broken jaw, and two broken ribs.
And after spending the night laying alone in the woods, the man had frostbite all over his body, and it was feared he would need a leg and foot amputated, according to WSAW-TV in Wausau, Wis., citing county court records.
“Given the severity of how badly beaten he was, the amount of blood loss, and the degree of hypothermia, including the solidification of his one limbs, and the extensive frostbite throughout, I don’t think he had much longer,” Forest County District Attorney Charles Simono told WLUK-TV in Green Bay.
Police believe the culprits are Raymond Jones, 45, April Jones, 38, Justin Bey, 21, and Samantha McClellan, 18, all who’ve been charged with multiple crimes, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and made initial appearances Wednesday in court.
All four also are charged with false imprisonment, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, kidnapping, and aggravated battery; Raymond Jones is also charged with strangulation.
Two juveniles were also arrested as result of the incident, WSAW initially reported, but no additional information was disclosed regarding them.
Here’s where things get even more bizarre.
Court documents show the alleged victim met one of the accused on a dating website. Then Raymond and April Jones brought the man to their house — where Bey also lives — in Wabeno, about 25 minutes southeast of where he was found in the woods by the ATV riders.
The man had been at the house for three weeks when a minor child of Raymond and April Jones said the man “touched her behind on the way back from the store. You’ll see in the complaint that it was with an open hand — nothing of a grab — and that she took off running,” Simono said.
That’s when the four adults allegedly went to work on him.
According to the criminal complaint, during a two-day period the man was beaten with sticks and punched and kicked in the head and groin, urinated upon, and had feces wiped on his head.
While in custody, Samantha McClellan told investigators they had tied up the man, and she and her boyfriend, Bey — who is identified in some reports as a son of the Joneses — were kicking him.
When McClellan heard that the target of their beating was found alive, she reportedly became upset.
Indeed prosecutors said the defendants admitted wanting to kill the man — who tried at one point to escape — but decided to leave him in the woods, assuming wolves would finish the deed due the amount of blood he lost.
Raymond Jones commented that the man’s condition was “the worst he had ever seen anyone beat,” the criminal complaint said.
Simono concurred: “I haven’t seen a crime to this degree of heinousness throughout all my years as a defense lawyer or as a prosecutor,” he told WLUK. “He was beat for two days.”