By Brandi Makuski
Police say Jason Sypher drove his wife’s Chevy Cruze to Menard’s the day she went missing to purchase heavy duty 39-gallon trash bags, one of several red flags they encountered during their investigation into the Plover woman’s disappearance.
It was a move he never reported to police when questioned about his movements the day Krista Sypher went missing on March 13, 2017. The bags were not found in the Sypher home when searched by police.
Jason Sypher was arrested for his wife’s murder on Aug. 24 during a high-risk traffic stop on I-39, about five miles north of the Illinois border. He is being held on a $750,000 cash bond for charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.
The investigation has been ongoing for almost 18 months, due in part to the family’s initial belief that Krista may have left on her own, and later compounded by the massive search area they would encounter. Police say the GPS records from the Syphers’ Chevy Cruze indicated multiple stops at or near public dumpsters around the Plover area, to include the Portage Co. Solid Waste Transfer Facility, in the days following Krista’s disappearance, requiring numerous police searches as far away as Mosinee for her remains or other evidence. It does not appear Krista’s body has been recovered.
During their searches, detectives watched a surveillance video from the Mosinee Transfer Facility, where a batch of Plover garbage was being processed, with a “long black plastic bag consistent with the size of a human body” seen falling from a garbage truck several days prior, according to the complaint.
When asked to recount his activity the day she went missing, Jason Sypher said after taking their two children to school, the couple went tanning, something confirmed by surveillance video at the Division St. business, then returned home. Jason Sypher said Krista left their home at about 11:30 a.m., presumably to go to McDill Elementary School, where she worked as an educational assistant. But according to the criminal complaint, GPS tracking indicated the vehicle didn’t leave the driveway of their Hoffman Dr. home until 2:46 p.m. that day. At that time, Jason Sypher said, he left to pick up one child from school. Krista was “under the covers in bed” when he left.
Jason Sypher told police he stopped at a gas station on the way to the school, where he disposed of multiple items in the dumpster there, but could not say exactly what, adding he “didn’t even look. I just pitched it.”
Detectives followed the GPS record of the Sypher’s Chevy to a Post Rd. gas station on March 23, when they found a plastic shopping bag containing Krista’s rose gold iPhone 7, smashed, along with its “twisted and mangled” case, in a dumpster there. Jason Sypher’s prints were found on the bag, and surveillance video from the store showed him driving the Chevy Cruze, stopping the vehicle next to the dumpster on March 13 and driving away a few minutes later.
During a March 27 search of the home, Jason Sypher claimed his wife took $30,000 in cash he’d hidden in a bedroom closet, money he intended to use for purchasing a new truck. Krista’s Coach watch, something her children said she wore “all the time”, was found under the couple’s bed, along with the nose pad from a pair of eyeglasses.
A specialized K9 unit from Madison assisted detectives during a March 31, 2017, search of the Sypher’s home, the complaint said. The dog alerted to the presence of human remains at various places in the Sypher’s bedroom, on freshly-laundered clothing in the washing machine, on a bathroom drain and in Jason Sypher’s Ford F-150.
A search of Jason Sypher’s cell phone yielded few clues, according to the complaint, as he claimed to delete his phone logs regularly due to receiving “hundreds” of calls and texts daily for work. He later admitted he hasn’t worked since December of 2016. Krista’s iPad was also searched for evidence, the complaint said, but its internet history had been deleted before it was turned over to police.
Police also tracked down a former girlfriend of Jason Sypher’s, who claims they had an ongoing affair between 2008-09 and recounted several instances of violence in their relationship. The woman claimed Jason Sypher sexually assaulted her, the complaint said, threatening to kill her and bury her body so “nobody will ever find you.”
On March 28, Plover police searched the trash collected by Advanced Disposal from the Sypher home. Police recovered several of Krista’s belongings from the trash, to include clothing and jewelry.
A garbage collector with Advanced Disposal later told police when he arrived at the Sypher home to collect the trash on March 14, a large store-bought garbage can weighing “eighty-to-ninety pounds” was placed out for pickup. It was not immediately clear if the contents of the container were collected by the driver, but police later found no sign of that garbage container at the home.
During multiple interviews with police, Jason Sypher and his children both describe a violent marriage dotted with infidelity, as do Krista’s friends, with instances of physical abuse and threats with a kitchen knife. The couple was reportedly in marriage counseling, according to the complaint, with their last recorded session in February.
During the investigation, a friend of Krista’s would report receiving texts from Krista the night before she went missing that indicated Krista was angry with Jason Sypher and that she “could kill him,” and was interested in moving out. Police later observed a large butcher knife was missing from a block in the family’s kitchen. Jason Sypher said he got rid of the knife sometime after an incident in January 2017, when he claims Krista Sypher swung the knife at him, and he cut his fingers trying to bat it away.
With prompting from Krista’s father, Jason Sypher went to the Plover Police Department on March 20 with his father-in-law and two of the couple’s children to report she was missing. Krista’s father also told police he thought she “had run off” after hearing about the missing cash, adding she had multiple boyfriends and previously had asked for money from her father to pay for a divorce.
If convicted on the homicide charge, Jason Sypher faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, plus 10 years if convicted of hiding a corpse.
He returns to court Sept. 10.