A judge has found sufficient cause to bind Mark Bucki, 49, over for trial in the death of his wife, Anita Bucki.
During a preliminary hearing in Lincoln County Circuit Court Thursday, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Mark Gartmann testified regarding evidence found at the Bucki’s town of Corning home and investigators’ conversations with Mark Bucki.
Mark Bucki reported his wife missing from their home on Wegner Road April 26. Her body was discovered in a swamp off Cty. Rd. C in Taylor County, about 19 miles from their house, on May 10. Mark Bucki was arrested and charged with her murder on May 13.
Gartmann testified that Mark Bucki called the sheriff’s office on the evening of April 26 to report that Anita had gone missing while he was sleeping early that morning. She had left her purse, cell phone and vehicle at the residence. Investigators went to the Bucki home that evening and soon became suspicious of Mark Bucki, Gartmann said.
The driveway had been freshly graded, investigators noted, and an area of carpeting had been removed from a bedroom. In response to a Crime Stoppers alert, a witness reported seeing a large fire at the Bucki residence just before 6 a.m. on April 26. In the bed of Mark Bucki’s truck, investigators noted the strong odor of a cleaning product. One side of the bed was much cleaner than the other, Gartmann said.
During the investigation, Mark Bucki told a deputy that he and Anita had been having marital problems, Gartmann said. Anita had been staying with a friend in Wausau, but had returned to the Wegner Road residence at around 9 p.m. on April 25 with her belongings loaded in her car. Investigators learned that Anita was hoping to reconcile with Mark, but Mark wanted a divorce, Gartmann said. They also learned that Mark had a girlfriend, of which Anita was aware. Phone records show that Mark and his girlfriend were texting back and forth from 9 p.m. April 25 to about 12 a.m. April 26.
Cadaver dogs were used at the Bucki property on April 30. They hit on several areas including the truck, the bedroom and what investigators refer to as an empty shallow grave site.
The autopsy report showed Anita Bucki died from stab wounds, and she was strangled prior to being stabbed. No murder weapon has been found, Gartmann said. The sheriff’s office is still waiting for reports from the state Crime Lab on further evidence in the case, Gartmann testified.
Reserve Judge Conrad Richards denied a motion from the defense to lower Mark Bucki’s bond to $100,000. He remains in the Lincoln County Jail on a $2 million cash bond.
A conference to schedule an arraignment hearing was set for Aug. 29. The case will go to newly-elected judge Robert Russell when he takes office.
Mark Bucki is charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide, Hiding a Corpse and Strangulation. The State is represented by Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy and Assistant Attorney General Richard J. Dufour. The case is being investigated by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.