MILWAUKEE — A former boyfriend is facing a reckless homicide charge in the death of Emily Rogers, who was missing for days until authorities found her body in St. Francis. Prosecutors say Rogers told him she was leaving him and that he had "lost it" and strangled her to death.
35-year-old Nicholas Charles Matzen was charged with first degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse. The maximum prison sentence for those charges is more than 72 years behind bars.
Milwaukee police first announced 23-year-old Rogers had not been seen since April 26 on West Becher Street in Milwaukee. Both police and community members conducted extensive searches throughout the area to find her. Last Thursday police said they had found her body in St. Francis and that multiple suspects were in custody.
A criminal complaint released Wednesday states officers were called to a home on Becher on April 30, where they learned Matzen had been taken into custody for an unrelated matter. He was arrested on April 17 and was released on April 27. Court records show he was arrested for hit and run.
A friend of Rogers reported her missing after not hearing from her for several days, police learned. The friend said Rogers lived on Becher Street with her child's father, Matzen. While he was in jail for the hit and run, the friend said Rogers planned to break up with him.
The friend continued, saying that a neighbor had told her she had seen Matzen with scratches on his face, and he claimed a dog was behind the injury.
The complaint states another person told police that Matzen had told him that "I f--ked up, I hurt her" and that Rogers was dead. The man said he went to the Becher home to get baby items but that he didn't help Matzen move Rogers' body. But the man says his brother and Matzen used a vehicle, and when they returned Matzen told the man, "The job is done. We don't have anything to worry about."
The man who spoke with police added that the defendant had broken Rogers' collarbone and that Rogers had been talking to another man. Matzen learned about that the day he was released from jail.
Police then spoke with the brother, who admitted that Matzen had asked him to help move the body. Matzen showed the brother the body. They dragged the body onto a rug, wrapped the body and tied it with extension cord. They carried the body outside and put it in the vehicle, according to the complaint.
The brother said that they had driven to an area on Waterford Avenue in Milwaukee County, where they backed into a parking lot, carried the body from the vehicle and hid it.
Police said they found the body beneath a discarded Christmas tree in a slightly wooded edge of a retention pond.
A medical examiner ruled Rogers died from asphyxia and that it was a homicide.
The brother who allegedly helped Matzen added to police that Rogers had told Matzen she was leaving him and that he had "lost it" and strangled her.
In an interview with police, Matzen claimed the object he carried from the house to the vehicle was a 400-pound sex doll. He would not disclose the location of the doll, the complaint states.
Matzen's initial appearance happened Wednesday morning.