An arrest has been made in a 25-year-old Wisconsin homicide. Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink said Friday that 61-year-old Dennis Brantner of Kenosha was arrested without incident on an arrest warrant for first-degree murder after making an appearance for an unrelated charge at the Kenosha County courthouse. Brantner was transported to the Fond du Lac County jail.
Brantner was identified last year as a primary suspect in the murder of 18-year-old Berit Beck. The Sturtevant teen was last seen leaving the Forest Mall in Fond du Lac in July 1990. Her van was found in a store parking lot two days after she was reported missing, with 462 extra miles on the odometer. Her body was found six weeks later in Fond du Lac County.
Fink expressed confidence last year that Brantner was a prime suspect in the case. Fink said “when I have physical evidence inside of a vehicle that a young lady was in prior to her abduction and maybe at the time of her death, I would call that a suspect…I would call that a prime suspect.”
The evidence had been recovered from Beck’s van and submitted to the state Crime Lab in 1990. It was ruled inconclusive at the time, but when investigators asked the Crime Lab to retest it last year, a fingerprint match with Brantner was made. An arrest has been made in a 1990 Wisconsin homicide. Berit Beck was an 18-year-old Sturtevant woman. She was found slain in a Waupun ditch, and evidence recovered from her van was at the time inconclusive.
Beck’s family issued this statement: “We are encouraged and relieved for this day to have arrived for Berit and our family. We request that our privacy be respected as this process unfolds.” The Sheriff’s Department and Fond du Lac County District Attorney have scheduled a press conference for Monday morning.