James Lasee from Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office Just Called Me!

If you call the number below, it will not work.  It’s one of those lines that police use to call out on, but can’t take incoming calls.  But it is the number that James Lasee used to call me.
Cell phone screen grab showing call from sheriff's office

Cell phone screen grab showing call from sheriff’s office

Card given to me by Manitowoc County Deputy Sheriff James Lasee on Christmas Day
Manitowoc County Sheriff James Lasee's business card

Manitowoc County Sheriff James Lasee’s business card


Deputy James Lasee of the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office called me at 1:55pm Central Time.  The call lasted 3 min 25 sec according to call details.  He wanted to know if I had called the sheriff’s office today accusing them of being domestic terrorists.  I said, “No, certainly not, as I mentioned to you in the squad car on the way into town from the Avery property on Christmas Day, I believe Ryan Hillegas committed this murder, and unlike the rest of the world, I’m pretty sure your department didn’t have anything to do with it.  Do you remember that conversation, Officer Lasee?” “Yes.  I remember”, was his curt reply.  “Okay”, he began again, “Are you sure you didn’t call here today at any time?”,  he asked one more time, his voice overladen with suspicion and doubt.  “No, I am quite sure, and you’re welcome to look at my phone if you’d like.  I was tempted to say, “It’s not like you guys have ever got who called who, when and where wrong ever, is it?”  But I thought better of it.

On the day I went to the Avery’s, the only picture I took was of the street and dead end sign.  When I got to the Avery’s, out of respect, I certainly wasn’t going to take any pictures, and I didn’t even ask to.   When the deputies arrived, I asked if I could take any pictures of them, and was resolutely told that they didn’t want their pictures taken.  I know I was well within my right to take pictures anyway, and that it would at least provide evidence that what I said about being there was true, but I also wanted to show respect to them as well.  In the squad car, I took one picture of the inside of the squad car itself without any of them being in frame, but the flash went off, alerting the officers who were standing around and conferring with each other a few yards away.  One came over and politely asked for me to delete that one too, and I did.

Let me carefully clarify that last statement.  He was polite, and he was making a request, not a demand.  The officers treated with me with utmost respect, given the situation, and were nice enough to give me a ride into town (on condition they be able to search my property, which I let them, by the way).  They could have been a lot meaner.  I’ll also make the point that none of the officers on the scene that night were recognizable from the Netflix series.  Many now on the force, at least those working Christmas Day, were probably in high school when all this occurred way back in 2005, so even if you think that certain people working at the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department in 2005 were involved in some kind of evil plot, it’s not fair to tar those who started working there years later with the same brush.

At the end of the brief call, I gave Officer Lasee my whereabouts (including room number), but also informed him that the no-picturing-taking courtesy extended at the Avery property would not be extended again, and that if he came to my door, the whole event would be broadcast live, on the web.  I added that I didn’t want that to stop him from coming over, however, because there were important things I wanted to talk to him about.  I certainly want to carefully obey the law here and everywhere I go for that matter, but it has occurred to me that if I were ever arrested for some reason, officers on duty would have no other choice but to listen to what I have to say.

Additionally, it would be a precious opportunity to talk to other inmates who likely know people who might know people that have interesting stories to tell.  What else do people sitting around in jail got to do but talk?  That last time I was in jail in Portland, Oregon, I was introduced to Kurt Cobain’s heroin dealer, (also a prolific wine thief in the area) and you wouldn’t believe the stories he had to tell.  But let me make clear that I realize that this is a bad idea, and I will not be going out of my way to get arrested.  I just think about a lot things,  you could say and I’m quite well aware from my own contretemps with the law, that for my present purposes, ten days in county, especially since I’m in the city very close to where the tragic murder of Teresa Halbach happened, would be a godsend.   So, to the law enforcement agents in the area, if you think I’ve committed some arrestable offense, as long as it’s petty, I BEG you to come and arrest me.

I really don’t think that’s going to happen, but if it does, I’ve given careful instruction to a person I trust, to serve a notice to my readership if I go longer than 48 hours without contact.  It is my hope that members of the public will also make their own inquiries.

What is strange about the call I received today is that you have to figure that people from all over the world have called the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department in droves issuing wrathful and premonitory sentiments.  What can they really do about that?  What would it matter if I had called to tell them that I thought that they are domestic terrorists?  Is it because I’m the only one that they know of who’s watched the series and shortly afterwards hopped a plane?  By now there must be plenty of other people in town who’ve also come from afar seeking answers.  I can’t be the only one of the tens of millions who’ve seen Making A Murderer.  That fact that others may have been a little more circumspect than I in announcing their presence should make me less suspect, if anything.  Who would you be more concerned about?  Someone lurking in the shadows, or someone out in the open?   And just for the record, “domestic terrorist” is not a phrase I would EVER use.  I’m very particular about words, and it would be against every fibre in my being to preface an epithet such as that one with any sort of qualifier.  To wit, I would have just called them terrorists, if I felt that way.

After Lasee and I ended our call, I began to wonder if he and his brethren in law enforcement had been reading my blog.  I believe I had a legitimate purpose for asking this question, as we shall see, but if I were in court being tried for the charge of stroking my own vanity, I might have taken a plea deal.  I’ll cop to that much.  After all, what writer doesn’t like to increase his readership, and what better person to solicit feedback and constructive criticism from, considering the circumstance and all, than a law enforcement officer?

The far more important reason for calling was simply to convey the message that if anyone in town was curious about what I was up to, they would need only read my blog.  A lot of what I do is documented there.  I was out yesterday for a constitutional as is evident by the photographs I took.  I go to the Quick Trip when I run out of food to buy more Oreos and milk, I’ve been to Capone’s a couple of times, but I mostly stay indoors.

So I called Officer Lasee back a few minutes later.  I first called the number on caller ID, but as mentioned, that didn’t work, so I found the card he gave me on the night he drove me back into town and was able to reach him.  “Officer Lasee”, I began, “I just want to let you know that if you want to know why I’m here, and what I’m doing, just read my blog.  Do you remember what it was?”, I asked.  He said he did, and I he said that he had had a look.  “Alright, cool.  Thanks for your time”.  Immediately after the call I was stricken by what the french call “the spirit of the staircase”, (esprit d’escalier in French).  It means thinking of something afterwards that you should have said in the moment.  That is to say, I should have wished him a happy New Year since this is New Years Eve.

I am aware that speaking of this particular sheriff’s department at this exceedingly delicate time, in anything other than derisive tones, risks being labeled as a sympathizer.  And what a can of worms that would open up.  Even if many of this blog’s readers believe Ryan Hillegas was involved as evidenced by the ongoing poll,  I’m quite sure I think a lot of my readers also believe that   Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office did have something to do with planting evidence.  Therefore, in the very near future, I’d like to open up conversation about that and listen to what people are saying about their own beliefs, and in turn I’d also like to be heard out.  For now, I will quote Lordy Byron: Deny nothing, doubt everything.

Of course we’re going to disagree, but I nevertheless believe that Intelligent, directed dialog is going to be one of the best tools for solving this.  And let me dilate a moment on why this is so.  A couple of years ago I read The Information by James Gleick.  This is a fairly serious book, non-fiction, on a somewhat, at least for now, esoteric subject.  His basic premise was that virtually everything can be reduced to some form of information, and that would also go for material substance.  He even had a pithy apothegm to encapsulate this concept: “Bit before it”.

The “bit”, in this instance, is I guess what you would call a metonym for information writ large even though the word usually  refers to a single, irreducible unit of information, and it’s what people are talking about when they refer to megabit, kilobit, gigabit, and so on.  Of course, these terms are probably more familiar in their truncated forms, megs, gigs (kilobits aren’t referred to much anymore because, somewhat like ha’pennies of yore, the size of the thing it measures, in this case volume, has become too great to make it useful or relevant).  Or in the plural: megabytes, kilobytes, and gigabytes.

The “it” refers to material matter, stuff you can bite with your teeth, if need be.  The argument, then, is that information, “bit” came before matter “it”.  He even goes on to argue, if I followed correctly, that “it” is “bit”, and that the distinction between the two is merely a human artifice.

He also goes on to argue that information is transmitted by signals, and that they purity of any such signal can be determined by the presence or absence of noise–which harkens back to the well-known signal-to-noise ratio.  If you’ve ever noticed a speed step down as you’ve moved away from a wifi source, this is what signal-to-noise ratio refers to.  To those longer in the tooth, you may recall the ever increasing amount of static you heard on your car radio as you drove out of town and entered into some more rural area.  Same kind of thing.

What I’m trying to say is that if there is an extant signal of information concerning who killed Teresa Halbach, it is only through words, dialog, that is, that we will be able to increase the amplitude. of that signal.  If it’s not too late to not seem exceedingly pedantic, and I realize that it probably is, dialog comes from latin (where else?), and it actually means “through words”.  That’s kinda gnomic.  What through words???  Well, words are sonic symbols.  They stand for something.  Their purpose is to carry a signal, to convey meaning.  Information!

Try to walk around for ten seconds with a blind fold on.  Unless you’re blind, odds are you won’t be able to do it.  Why?  Because the information fed to your brain via the portal of your opened eyes is constantly providing course correction.  Without that information, you quickly go off course, lose your balance and fall down.

If our words carry a strong signal, they will just as assuredly guide us along on the proper course.  To say that you are opening a dialog is tantamount to saying that you are looking for rapprochement, that you are looking for answers, that you are trying to solve something with at least one other person.  Life itself cannot exist without a strong informational signal.  What is DNA but a form of information?  We all know what can go wrong when that signal becomes distorted (mutations).  And that is perhaps the most obvious example.  There are countless, countless others including the migratory patters of birds and butterflies, or the courtship rituals of the Temmeniks Tragopan.  Fuck, even the Whirling Dervishes, for that matter.

In this quest for answers, I, WE need to be flexible in our thinking, and be ready to quickly discard our own pet theories if after a sound battering they fall apart.  We must be like that fellow who, after spending forty years of excruciating mental toil working out PI to to the 10,000 decimal discovered that he had made an error after only the third decimal place. The rest of his information was useless after that, but he went to work the next day without skipping a beat, cheerful as ever.  I don’t remember his name.  Why would anyone?  But this person has gone down in history for something far more important than working out PI to so many digits.  He is the standard bearer for the dispassionate, truth-seeking-without-an-agenda approach to scientific inquiry.  Sure it’s difficult work, but at least it’s not going to give you black lung.

So, yes, it’s true that I don’t think that the sheriff’s office was involved, but maybe I’m wrong, and if I’m wrong, or if you’re wrong, we can’t let our own petty egos get in the way especially if we consider what’s at stake here.

In sum, what I want to make it explicitly clear is that I want to hear your best, most well reasoned arguments.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not offer James Lasee a season’t greeting.  You know he had to work on Christmas because that’s the day we first met at the Avery property?  So, I hope tomorrow he finally gets a day off on  holiiday to be home with his friends and family, so Happy New Year Officer Lasee.



  • You bet? Doesn't sound like you're too sure.

  • I got enemies, got a lot of enemies, got a lot of people tryin' to drain me of my energies — Drake It's all noise. The more they talk about me the more I wonder why they want to avoid the topic that I've brought to the fore. They have nothing to say. I respect people who can think, who can reason, who can argue. People that call names at someone they've never met, not so much.

  • They don't drug test you when you get arrested unless you're on probation or parole. I'm on neither.

  • Please clarify your question.

  • Why? Why should I go there, anonymous? I don't wish any ill will toward anyone. My main motive here is to get those two men out of prison. If Ryan Hillegas killed Teresa Halbach, I'd actually go to bat for him. I would not wish prison on him even if he did kill Teresa Halbach. I do not believe in the U.S. prison system. It's a much bigger crime than anyone person could ever dream of committing.

  • significant to offer in solving this mystery one way or the other, right? And megabytes is definitely not the plural of megabit…

  • I work at Froedtert, if you're ever there you should definitely post in advance!

    • Well, with your criminal record, of course you'd go to bat for Ryan. You are a special kind of twisted. You are out to free two men and you think Ryan did it, yet you think he shouldn't go to prison. Why don't you head over to the Halbach's while you're trespassing through Manitowoc with a penny in your pocket and tell them that whomever killed their daughter, doesn't deserve to go to prison. You don't believe in the prison system because you are a criminal. That town is corrupt in many crevices, however they should be worried with the likes of you there. Go violate the retraining order the Avery's have on you, get you some mat time freak!!

  • To Unknown, Why are you taunting this guy on a mission?

  • To Unknown, what are you person working for a paper nobody reads or another silly blog? Who else would be so cavilier with the life of Ryan (who knows what happens when these men meet) or with Daniel's? One guy will end up in prison is for certain. It is selfish of you to try and taunt a man who came here on a mission by telling him where Ryan works.

  • why dont you go find Ryan at Froedert hospital? It's a short drive.

  • Yes, cops, in general ARE working class heroes. Can you imagine dealing with belligerent drunk people all day? Wading into the middle of domestic disputes when people are at their absolute worse? Or how about going on the scene of a horrific traffic accident with multiple fatalities? How does if feel to be despised by the very people who you'd risk your life to save if their life was ever in danger? I honestly can't imagine a job with more psychological pressure with the possible exception of someone serving in the military in a battle zone. If you think something is wrong about our society, take action some other way than complaining about cops. There's a million things you can do. I sincerely mean all of this.

  • Most law enforement go into the job with noble intentions. Many were even Eagle Scouts as a little boy. I feel badly for the good ones out there due to the few bad only get talked about (Not Dan but many that watched the tv show). This is for all the good ones. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zbbPAuAtSAA