A Merrill man stabbed his wife seven times, tried to strangle her and then hid her body in some woods near Medford following a discussion about the couple getting divorced, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Mark Bucki was ordered jailed on $2 million cash bond after he was charged in Lincoln County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and strangulation and suffocation. He is accused of killing 48-year-old Anita Bucki, who disappeared more than two weeks ago.
Mark Bucki, 49, is to return to court May 23.
According to District Attorney Don Dunphy, Bucki told investigators he burned some items in a burn barrel before reporting to police on April 26 that his wife had gone missing.
Dunphy said Bucki told investigators that he and his wife discussed divorce and he raised his voice. The prosecutor said Mrs. Bucki had a $150,000 life insurance policy.
Investigators have said that Mrs. Bucki left all of her personal belongings including her car, purse, and cell phone at the home and initially said no foul play was suspected.
A rural Taylor County couple on a walk spotted some human remains last Friday about 10 miles east of Medford. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said on Monday the remains were those of Anita Bucki and her husband was arrested.
According to the criminal complaint, Mark Bucki told investigators that he and his wife were separated and she was living in Wausau. She came to their Merrill home about 9 p.m. on April 25 and had a discussion about divorce lasted 2-3 hours.
The complaint said the husband went to bed and told his wife she could stay for the night. When he awoke about 5 a.m. on April 26, she was gone, he told investigators.
"The defendant told me he had a temper and that Anita was scared of him," the complaint said.
Three days later, officers searched the Bucki home, the complaint said.
"Blood was found on the living room carpet, on the defendant's boots, on a pair of men's jeans and on the brim of a hat," the complaint said.
A cadaver dog indicated the "presence of decomposition in the bed" of Mark Bucki's 1993 Chevrolet pickup truck, the complaint said.
Bucki told investigators that his wife had a $150,000 life insurance policy. He said she had sent him a text message "instructing him that if anything happened to her he should split the life insurance with their son," the complaint said. There was no indication when the message was allegedly sent.
One of Anita Bucki's friends of 13 years, Carole Cooper, said Tuesday she was saddened by the new developments.
"My family is heartbroken and I think the whole town is heartbroken," Cooper said.
Cooper said she worked with Anita Bucki at a bank in the past and also took many trips with her.
"She was a very loving, honest, caring person, just would do anything for anybody," said Cooper.
Anita Bucki's brothers, Don Sidmore and Cliff Brown, and Brown's fiancee Sonya Helton attended Tuesday's news conference at the sheriff's department.
"There's lot of different emotions, there's anger, hurt, you know, concern," Brown said.
Brown said Bucki's son, Clint, and his wife and child are expected in Lincoln County by Tuesday evening.
"I'm worried about Clint, her son. He's lost a mother and now his dad's in jail," said Brown.
Brown also shared more his sister's love for the family and her one-year-old granddaughter, Alauna.
"That's Anita in a nutshell right there, that smile on her face, that baby right there, it's beautiful," said Brown.
Right now, the family is thankful for all the help they've received over the past few days.
"We just appreciate everybody stepping up and helping us," said Brown.
Brown said there was another search planned by Rapid Search and Rescue at the couple's property last Sunday.
But it was postponed after the human remains were found in Taylor County on Friday.
Brown said his hotel room was paid for by Rapid Search and Rescue, and another night has been covered by a Merrill community member.
He also said Making Dreams Come True of Lincoln County has helped the family with food and money to get home.
Stay with Newsline 9 as we follow this developing story.