O’Connells request public’s assistance

Joanna Dornfeld

HUDSON, Wis. – Over lumps in their throats, members of the O’Connell family spoke Friday for the first time since University alumnus Daniel O’Connell’s Feb. 5 death.

O’Connell, 38, and James Ellison, a 22-year-old University mortuary science senior, were shot dead in the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, Wis., in early February. The Hudson Police Department is investigating the murders.

The family asked the perpetrators to turn themselves in to police. They also asked that anyone who knows anything about the crime contact Hudson police.

“It’s hell,” said Tom O’Connell, Daniel O’Connell’s father. “If there was a motive, a reason, something Ö If you people would help us in any way, because how else are we going to figure it out?”

O’Connell’s parents Tom and Janet O’Connell, his wife Jennie, his sister Kathleen, his brother Mike and Mike’s wife Carla also thanked the community for their support.

Tom O’Connell will continue to direct the funeral home in Hudson he and Daniel O’Connell had previously managed together. The family’s other funeral home in Baldwin, Wis., will still be directed by Daniel’s brother Mike O’Connell.

“It’s therapeutic to get back in there,” Tom O’Connell said. “There’s lots of notes telling me what to do and what not to do. He’s talking to me every day.”

Local business people will be setting up a reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case, Tom O’Connell said. More information will be released once the reward is established.

Hudson police would not comment about any leads they are pursuing, but Hudson police Chief Richard Trende said they are not close to an arrest.

But they have narrowed down their lists of suspects, he said.

“We want to get the person or persons,” Trende said. “It’s a priority, if it takes six months or six years.”