A convicted murderer and sex offender is still residing in the Clark County Jail. It’s been a month-and-a-half since 40-year-old Gary Thiede was released from prison. Department of Corrections personnel are assisting him find a residence somewhere in Clark County.

In 1988, Thiede shot and killed 16-year-old Robert Aponte of Hatfield. It was a gruesome murder. He also served prison time for sexual assault and attempted enticement of a child. Those offenses occurred in Clark County.

Cherise Nielsen, the Corrections Field supervisor at the Neillsville probation and parole office says finding lodging for Thiede is a priority. Thiede is chaperoned when looking for apartments. “It’s probably been a couple times a week, on average,” she says.

Nielsen says they’ve had some landlords initially say ‘yes’ to Thiede, but then “something changes,” and they change their mind. Technically, Thiede could reside at the Clark County Jail indefinitely, but it’s not the state’s preference. “We’re not fine with him just being in the Clark County Jail,” Nielsen says. “First of all, he’s still incarcerated, second of all, it’s a cost to the taxpayers of Clark County.”

As you might imagine, finding a residence for someone convicted of such a heinous crime isn’t as simple as thumbing through the classifieds. By the state’s own admission, Thiede is level 3 sex offender, who has the potential to re-offend. “We have to physically go there, meet with the landlord. If there are neighbors next door, we meet with the neighbors. We identify where daycares are in the area, schools, churches, parks,” she explains.

Many local communities, including Neillsville, have adopted ordinances that prevent sex offenders from residing in certain areas of the city. When an apartment is found, it will be up to local authorities to alert the public about his location.

Paul Knoff, WCCN

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