Hello my friends! Being a True Crime fan, I have another case here from the great state of Wisconsin. We do have some unique cases for you all, and I hope you find this one interesting.
In 2003, a nineteen-year-old girl was murdered in her own bedroom, in her parents’ house. She was talented with musical instruments and vocally as well. She had starred in Fiddler on the Roof, as the Fiddler. In fact, the show she was in, was opening night and it was sold out. The next day Jessie Blodgett was dead.
Buck and Joy Blodgett had one child, Jessie. As any parent would be, they were extremely proud of her and the fact that she was so talented. She taught piano, sang, played violin and made the passion she had into a business. In two months’, time she had acquired 26 students and had planned to become a teacher either in high school or a university choir director.
July 14, 2003, was opening night for Fiddler on the Roof, and after the show Jessie attended the cast party. She had returned home around 1am and spoke briefly with her mother before they both went to bed.
In the morning, Joy had dropped off some laundry in Jessie’s room, and believed her daughter to still be asleep. She went to work and didn’t return until noon for lunch. The house was silent, and since Jessie was due to give a piano lesson at 12:30, Joy went in to get Jessie up. That was when she discovered her daughter was blue, and there were marks on her neck.
Immediately she called 9-1-1 and reported what she found on her daughter to the operator. Joy attempted to revive her daughter by performing CPR, but sadly the once shining star was dead. Police arrived and found that Jessie’s hair and clothing was wet, it was believed that whoever had killed her washed her afterwards.
Joy relayed the previous night to detectives, and stated her daughter came home and was alone. There was no sign of forced entry into the home, so it was presumed that Jessie knew the person who killed her. Joy stated she had seen Jessie in bed that morning but didn’t know if her daughter had been dead at that time or not.
The autopsy confirmed that there were ligature marks on her neck, ankles, and left wrist. She had been raped and then strangled.
Police worked backwards to trace Jessie’s steps. A journal found in her room talked about the show and cast party and how there were two men at the party that she wasn’t very fond of and had given her the creepy vibe. One of them was an older man, and he had pulled Jessie onto his lap. When the police spoke with him, he cooperated, and he was eventually cleared.
Three days before Jessie was murdered, police had been investigating an attack on a woman at a local park. A woman was walking her dog and a man was following her, she wasn’t scared but felt he was just too close. She turned around to face him and that is when he attacked her with a fish fillet knife. The woman fought back, and eventually got hold of the knife and held it so tightly that it cut her hand. At this point her attacker asked if HE could go, and then he left. She kept the knife and provided a detailed description of the man, and his vehicle. Another officer had seen the van and had a license plate.
This van was traced back to a middle-aged couple, who did not resemble the sketch that the victim had provided. BUT they had a 20-year-old son, Daniel, who was almost identical to the sketch. Police went to talk to Daniel Bartlett. When police called him on July 16, Daniel agreed to meet them. He was at the vigil for Jessie Blodgett, as they had known each other in high school, and had even composed together as he was a talented violinist.
Thinking his friendship with Jessie was what they wanted to discuss, police asked him what he thought happened to Jessie. Daniel stated he thought she had been raped and strangled. Since this information had not been presented to anyone, police were troubled by his statement. They moved on to discussing the woman in the park.
Seeing cuts and scrapes on his arms, police asked what happened. Daniel stated it was from a screw at work. After more questions about his work Daniel stated he had been laid off and it was a cooking accident.
Being caught in a lie, the police convinced him to tell the truth, and discussed DNA with Daniel and that he needed to be honest. Eventually he confessed. He stated he was the man who attacked the woman in the park, but he only wanted to scare her. Daniel was arrested and was questioned again the next day.
However, the police were more interested in what he knew about Jessie Blodgett’s death. Daniel stated that he left his house around 6:30 am as his parents didn’t know he had lost his job and he drove around for a while before going to the park. He said he spent a lot of time at the park, reading.
Police went to Woodlawn Union Park and looked around and in the trash. What they found inside a Frosted Mini Wheat box was rather incriminating. The box contained paper toweling, tape, rope, and antiseptic wipes, all stained red. The rope matched rope found at Daniel’s house, and matched the marks on Jessie’s wrist, and ankles.
The DNA found from the blood matched both Jessie and Daniel. The DNA on the rope matched both Jessie and Daniel. Daniel’s DNA was under Jessie’s fingernails. The tape found under Jessie’s bed had Daniel’s fingerprints on it.
Police how had the who, and the how, but not the why. They didn’t know why Daniel would have killed Jessie, a person he was friends with, and had known for many years. Police found more information on Daniel’s laptop that showed he had a darker side, and a novel written by him, had a character named Jessica. Daniel’s laptop also showed a history of bondage pornography and pornographic snuff films. Police believed that Daniel had chosen Jessie for her name, but also that he knew her and how to get into her house.
Daniel pled not guilty and was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to live in prison without the possibility of parole. He denies that he killed Jessie, and that he is innocent of this crime.
Buck and Joy Blodgett have started the Love is Greater Than Hate Project, and Buck travels to schools, corporations, non-profits, and prisons asking men to pledge to not hurt women. It works towards choosing to love over hate and works toward motivating people to choose love over violence. Buck has chosen love over hate and has forgiven Daniel.
Buck is a stronger person than I am. If a person had murdered my child, I don’t believe that I could ever forgive them. But I applaud his ability to do so, and I hope that their project continues to help prevent violence.
Stay Curious my Friends!