Unsolved

"Unsolved" / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The second season of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Unsolved podcast begins with the following clip:

‘Unsolved’ Podcast: What’s Next?

Feb 29, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Unsolved podcast explores the promising leads, false starts and open questions in the case of John Zera, a Franklin teenager who was murdered in February of 1976. No one has ever been arrested and charged in the case.

'Unsolved' Chapter Seven: A New Beginning

Feb 27, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A new detective takes over the John Zera homicide investigation and discovers a serial killer with Wisconsin ties.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

Our broadcast of the Unsolved podcast over the next week is presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

'Unsolved' Chapter Six: Blinded By Science

Feb 26, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By 2009, Detective Kent Schoonover fears the chance to solve John Zera's murder has slipped away, in part because the eccentric medical examiner who did the autopsy made a mess of it.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

Our broadcast of the Unsolved podcast over the next week is presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

'Unsolved' Chapter Five: What Did We Miss?

Feb 25, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Two years after John Zera was murdered, an anonymous tip about a Franklin High substitute teacher with an unusual interest in boys' feet would generate a new prime suspect.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

Our broadcast of the Unsolved podcast over the next week is presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

'Unsolved' Chapter Four: Citizen Detective

Feb 24, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The day after John Zera's body was found, Daniel Acker was found standing over the crime scene in Whitnall Park. His alibi for the day of John's death was shaky, but police dismissed him. Acker would strike up a correspondence with the Zera family and start his own investigation into the case, pointing the finger at a mental patient at the facility where he worked.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

'Unsolved' Chapter Three: A Chilling Discovery

Feb 23, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In 2009, police investigating the 1976 homicide of John Zera catch a break when a swim coach is arrested for child molesting. A search of the man's condo reveals clues about John's case.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

Our broadcast of the Unsolved podcast over the next week is presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

'Unsolved' Chapter Two: Where do we start?

Feb 22, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Before John Zera, Hales Corners Detective Howard Hingiss had only handled one murder case. While he narrowed down the suspect list, with the help of the F.B.I. and other departments, he would never discover the identity of the murderer. Twenty-five years after his retirement, and almost 40 years after the crime, the question of who killed John remains unsolved.

Read the Journal Sentinel's full story. 

'Unsolved' Chapter One: Have you seen Johnny?

Feb 22, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On Feb. 20, 1976, freshman John Zera disappeared from a high school in suburban Milwaukee. In the early days, John's family hoped for his safe return. Later, they prayed whoever was responsible for his disappearance would be brought to justice. Finally, they clung to hope that advances in technology or someone with a guilty conscience would someday offer an explanation of what happened to their Johnny. And why.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of John Zera, a 14-year old Franklin High School student. Zera was murdered, and his body was found eight days later in Whitnall Park. Despite several seemingly promising leads in the case, no one has ever been charged in connection with his death.

The case re-emerged in the public eye recently with a print series and podcast by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The case of John Zera has confounded law enforcement since the 14-year old was found murdered in Whitnall Park in the winter of 1976.  But a seven-part weekly series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has cast new light and brought new attention to the case.

The final installment of the Unsolved series runs Wednesday.