DARLINGTON, WI – Jaren Kuester, a 31-year-old man with a history of mental problems, has been arrested and charged with beating three elderly people to death with a fireplace poker.
According to reports, Kuester was arrested after threatening staff members at a Waukesha County animal shelter. Staff there said Kuester demanded that the dead dog he’d dropped off a few weeks earlier be returned to him alive. He told them they would pay with their lives when they did not oblige.
After making bail, he got in his vehicle and started driving, feeling as if his life was “crashing and burning” around him. After driving three counties away, he felt as if he was being followed, so he abandoned his vehicle, stripped off his clothes, and ran into the woods.
He ended up getting cold and broke into the farmhouse of Gary Thoreson, 70, and Chloe Thoreson, 66, who were not at home. After getting clothes, food, and searching for valuables, Kuester went to sleep on a bedroom floor. Sometime after, 70-year-old Dean Thoreson, Gary’s brother, arrived and entered the home. Investigators believe Dean was just checking on the house while the couple was away.
Kuester used a fireplace poker to beat Dean to death. He then parked Dean’s truck in the garage and shut the door. Later, when Gary and Chloe came home, Kuester beat them to death with the fireplace poker. Chloe was also stabbed. Afterwards, Kuester left the home with money, blankets and a metal bar, then drove Dean’s truck to his father’s apartment.
Police eventually tracked him down and said once located, he had “visible lacerations” and dried blood on him. Kuester’s father told investigators that when his son showed up at his home, he confessed to having hurt three people. He also added that Jaren was being treated for mental health issues and taking various medications.
Jaren Kuester was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was ordered held on $3 million bail.