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Fox Crossing man charged with hiding a corpse in basement using a tarp

Fox Crossing man charged with hiding a corpse in basement using a tarp

An earlier version of this story contained the incorrect city the suspect was from. The error has been corrected.

FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WFRV) – A man from Fox Crossing is facing up to twelve and a half years in prison for allegedly concealing a corpse in a tarp bought from a local Home Depot.

According to a criminal complaint, 44-year-old Erik Averbeck is facing one count of hiding a corpse, repeater charge. Because of the repeater addition, Averbeck could have his prison sentence higher than twelve and a half years.

On Dec. 15 officers with the Department of Corrections (DOC) did a home visit at 1220 Fatima Street in Fox Crossing. When officers arrived at the residence they knocked on the front door for about one to two minutes with no response.

Then a neighbor asked what was going on, and mentioned that if their vehicles were in the driveway they should be home. The officers were told by their supervisor that they could enter the house if the front door was unlocked.

They were able to open the unlocked front door and verbally called out for 46-year-old Rhonda Jacobson, who was the tenant of the duplex. After a minute or so Jacobson popped her head out of a bedroom and when asked if there was anyone else inside the home, Jacobson mentioned that Averbeck was.

During the home visit, the officers with the DOC reportedly noticed multiple items of drug paraphernalia were found in the bedroom. The officers made their way to the basement and found an apparent body in a corner.

Officers were going to check for signs of life, but since the body was tightly wrapped and bound they felt that they should not disturb the body any further.

Averbeck said he found the victim’s body on Dec. 14 around 4 p.m. When asked who wrapped her in the tarp, Averbeck said ‘I did.’

The body was wrapped in a blue tarp with duct tape to make the tarp tight-fitting.

Police officers spoke with a relative of the victim who said she recently got out of jail and was staying at a home in Appleton. The relative told authorities that the victim called on Dec. 11 asking for a ride to 1220 Fatima Street.

The relative was told by his aunt that there was a posting on Facebook about an overdose and someone found wrapped up in a tarp.

While executing a search warrant later on Dec. 15, officials found a circular area of dried vomit. Authorities say that there were no other signs of evidence that show something outside of an overdose.

Averbeck told authorities that he was currently living with Jacobson and on Dec. 14 he found the victim dead in the basement. Fearing that Jacobson would get in trouble, they made the decision to go to Home Depot to get a tarp.

He told officers that when he was securing the tarp around the body with duct tape he was having second thoughts. Averbeck said that neither he nor Jacobson used any drugs that night and were unaware if the victim used any drugs.

Averbeck mentioned that he last bought heroin on Dec. 10 while he was at a casino.

The decision to wrap up the victim’s body was made around 8 or 9 a.m. on Dec. 15. Averbeck went back upstairs and talked with Jacobson, and while they were talking the police knocked on their door.

Jacobson told authorities that she know the victim for a while and arrived at her residence abruptly on Dec. 11. She also said that she saw her probation agent while knowing that the victim was dead and did not say anything about the victim being dead in her basement.

The autopsy on the victim showed findings of fentanyl and no other injuries were visible to suggest that the victim had died of other means outside of an overdose.

Averbeck made a call from jail on Dec. 19 and when someone asked him where the needles were he said:

That’s the thing. Everything there. She had nothing down there. That’s the thing. So whoever was down there with her, took everything with them. Whoever was with her, went out the backdoor. Cause I have a camera on the front door.

Erik Averbeck

Averbeck is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 30 at 12:30 p.m. for his preliminary hearing.

Local 5 will continue to update this story as more details are released.