Half brother accused of killing autistic Wis. man

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm •  Published: December 5, 2012
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"Enjoying the simplicities of life," Swangstu said of the time they spent together. "Sitting around a bonfire. Drinking soda. Watching fireworks go off. Playing catch in our yard. ... Matt was a loving, kind, gentle soul."

Eventually Graville moved out of the foster home and somehow connected with Vogelsberg, his 28-year-old half-brother. Vogelsberg and Graville went on to rent McCumber's house in Mazomanie, a village of about 1,650 people 25 miles west of Madison.

Court records show Vogelsberg had been in trouble with the law before. He had been convicted of siphoning gas from vehicles, shooting a man with a BB gun and throwing his dog down his apartment stairs. A former landlord accused him of blowing up her chicken with a bottle rocket.

Vogelsberg's grandfather reported Graville missing in July. Weeks went by with no sight of him.

In September, investigators caught a break when county workers notified them someone had used Graville's food stamp card at a Madison grocery store two weeks after he disappeared. According to the criminal complaint, store surveillance video identified the card user as Vogelsberg's mother, Laura Robar, who has since been charged with identity theft.

She led investigators to McCumber, who told them that Vogelsberg regularly abused Graville, beating him and shooting him with a BB gun repeatedly, according to the complaint. Finally, Vogelsberg became convinced Graville was poisoning Vogelsberg's children and started beating him in the bathroom.

McCumber said he didn't interfere because Robar was there and he thought she wouldn't let things get out of hand.

When he found Graville's body the next day, he called Vogelsberg, who told him to wrap the body in plastic and place it in a chest freezer in the garage, according to the criminal complaint. Several days later, he and Vogelsberg buried Graville in the woods along the Wisconsin River. McCumber said Vogelsberg had a pistol and he was afraid he might kill him.

Vogelsberg was arrested Nov. 5 in Washington state, where he moved after his wife was assigned to a base near Tacoma. He remains in custody with no bail.

McCumber is set to be arraigned later this month. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Robar is set to stand trial early next year. Her attorney, Jason Gonazlez, said in court Wednesday that Robar was involved with making "some really bad decisions" and is cooperating with detectives, but he doesn't believe prosecutors can prove all the elements of identity theft.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Kaiser said in court Wednesday that Robar has said she will do anything to protect her son.

Swangstu said he will always be angry at Graville's family.

"There won't be a day when I don't resent what his family did," he said. "He was doing everything he needed to do until he connected with his real family. His real family ruined it."