Bury the dead

Journal Sentinel

January 23, 2019

By Gina Barton

Deputy David Cattanach was on his way to check on a wounded cat when a more pressing call came over the radio: Someone had suffered an injury at St. Michael School. A fall maybe. Or an accident. The dispatcher mentioned blood on the floor.

The kitten would have to wait.

Cattanach turned onto the winding road that led to the rural Wisconsin town of Dane, population 621, give or take a few. It was a sunny March morning in 1998, more spring than winter, and the roads were clear.

A few minutes into his 10-mile drive, another radio call came through: The man on the floor of the school wasn’t just injured; he was dead.

An ambulance was already idling in the parking circle when Cattanach arrived at the school, which was connected to the church. Two medical techs walked toward their vehicle, supporting a young man, unsteady on his feet. His hands were covered in blood.

The dead man, he said, was the parish priest.

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