Mystery connection behind three Nebraska incidents

Published: Jul. 18, 2019 at 4:33 AM CDT
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Near Eagle, Neb. three families share a mysteriously related tragedy.

Last July, Cass County ruled 29-year-old Brandon Retzlaff died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound near a road that borders two counties.

The father, Jeff Retzlaff, believes this to be no coincidence.

On the other side of the road, Lancaster County determined 19-year-old Hunter Paxson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, one month later.

Jess Hellwege, Hunter's mother said, "I think Hunter was coerced, I think he was made to write the notes and I know I may sound like a parent in denial but the facts leading up to Hunter ending up here on a Monday morning after he had been at work and happy and getting a phone call doesn’t add up.”

According to Sherriff Terry Wagner of Lancaster County, there was no evidence that suggested anyone else had a hand in the death.

One month before the two suicides, 34-year-old Josh Stratton went missing just five miles from that same road.

Since an investigation by our sister station WOWT 6 News began, both families have been contacted by a Cass County investigator inquiring about possible connections.

Two deaths ruled suicide weeks after a man went missing, all within miles of each other. An investigation now underway will determine if there's a connection or a coincidence.