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Man held on $2M bond in Lincoln Co. for wife's murder

Insurance policy, affair add up to homicide charges

8:35 PM, May 14, 2013  |  Comments
Charges pending in Lincoln County homicide
Charges pending in Lincoln County homicide: Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Dept. spokesman Nathan Walrath refused to discuss whether anyone else is under investigation in connection with the Anita Bucki case. Mark Bucki is currently being held on $2 million bond in his wife's death.
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On the night of April 25, Anita Bucki visited her husband in the town of Corning home they once shared, where they argued for hours about their pending divorce, according to prosecutors.

Less than three weeks later, after police discovered a $150,000 insurance policy Mark Bucki had on his wife's life and her stabbed and strangled remains were found in Langlade County, he was charged in her death.

When police searched Mark Bucki's home, they found blood stains on the living room floor, according to court records. They learned that Mark Bucki spent the afternoon of April 26 destroying his wife's belongings, and he ripped a portion of carpet out of a bedroom. Those items were burned in a fire pit hours before he called police to say Anita Bucki had disappeared.

In the days immediately after Anita Bucki's disappearance, first reported April 26, investigators found blood on Mark Bucki's boots, pants and hat. They found that one side of the bed of his pickup appeared to have been cleaned recently with household cleanser, while the other side was dirty.

And they found, according to prosecutors, what appeared to be a shallow grave in the back yard.

Those discoveries, along with Mark Bucki's admission that he was having an extramarital affair, all added up Tuesday to enough evidence for Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy to charge Mark Bucki with first-degree intentional homicide, strangulation and suffocation and concealing a corpse.

"I only know one side of this story," Dunphy said. "(Mark Bucki) admits his wife was at his home, that the two had an argument and that he raised his voice. He also admits there is a $150,000 life insurance policy on Anita, and that she'd asked him to split the proceeds with their son if anything ever happened to her."

Though Bucki maintains that he and his wife went to bed separately after the argument and he awoke to find her gone, Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge John Yackel ordered him held Tuesday on a record-setting $2 million bond.

Anita Bucki's body was discovered Friday near Medford, about 20 miles from the Buckis' home. Preliminary autopsy results show she suffered seven stab wounds to the chest and had severe bruising around her throat, Dunphy said Tuesday. Laboratory tests are under way to determine whether the blood found in the couple's home is that of Anita Bucki, Dunphy said.

At a Lincoln County Sheriff's Department news conference held Tuesday morning,Chief Deputy Nathan Walrath refused to discuss whether anyone else is under investigation in connection with the case.

Anita Bucki's brother, Cliff Brown of Rapid City, S.D., said he is determined to find out what happened to his sister.

"I know the police here are doing everything in their power to find out what happened to Anita," Brown said. "I'm here to find answers, but I'm not going to get in the way of the police while they're doing their job. I'm sure we're going to find out a lot more soon."

Little is known about Mark Bucki, except that he is a Medford native who has lived in the town of Corning for the past 15 years. Brown said Anita and Mark Bucki were married for 26 years and have one son, Clint Bucki, who lives in Bemidji, Minn., with his wife and young daughter. Mark Bucki had an injury that left him disabled and unable to work for several years, Brown said. It is unclear what type of disability from which Mark Bucki suffers.

"I'm just feeling so sorry for Clint," Brown said. "He's lost his mom. Now he's lost his dad, too. It's a heck of a thing to have to go through."

Brown said Clint Bucki is on his way to Wisconsin to meet with the rest of the family.

Anita Bucki's disappearance initially was treated as a missing persons case, Walrath said, but shifted to a homicide investigation last week. Her remains were identified at the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Madison, police said. No official cause of death has yet been released.

Anita Bucki's death is just the third homicide in seven years in Lincoln County but the second violent death reported in central Wisconsin in less than a month. Kou Thao, 26, of Wausau, was charged April 22 in Marathon County Circuit Court on first-degree intentional homicide charges in connection with the death of Tong Hang, 58, of St. Paul, Minn. Thao is being held in the Marathon County Jail on a $1 million bond.

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