On April 22, 1991, Bruce Brenizer, 15, shot and killed his father, Rick Brenizer, 35, and half-sister, Crystal Brenizer, 5, as well as his father’s girlfriend, Ruth Berentson, 31, and her children, Heidi, 10, and Mindy, 7. He called his stepbrother, Jesse Anderson, and asked him for help disposing of the bodies. The two put the five bodies into the family station wagon, drove it to a secluded location, and set it on fire.
When questioned by police over the location of his family, Brenizer told them they’d gone shopping in Minneapolis and never returned to their Cushing, WI, home. Police checked the trailer where the family lived but could find no evidence of a crime. On May 11, a fisherman came across the burned-out car. Investigators called to the scene found bone and tooth fragments inside. Dental records soon confirmed the human remains belonged to Rick, Ruth, and their children.
Once the bodies were found, Anderson told the police what happened. Bruce said he tied up Heidi and Mindy before shooting them both with a rifle at point-blank range. He then ambushed his father and Ruth when they returned home and then killed Crystal. Anderson reportedly gave Bruce the ammunition for the rifle and advised him to kill his family outside so there would be no evidence in the home. He was given immunity for his testimony. Bruce was convicted but found to be insane. He was sentenced to life in a mental hospital before later being transferred to a state prison.