What happened to Amos Mortier?

Amos Mortier and his Malamute Gnosis

Amos Mortier and his Malamute Gnosis

How thoroughly did Fitchburg police investigate an allegation that a Madison man confessed to stabbing Amos Mortier and feeding his body to pigs?” That’s quite an opening for a newspaper article.

Your thoughts immediately bring up images of a conspiracy, people disappearing, smaller fish taking the heat for the impossible to catch bigger fish, possible negligence in the investigation, the cruelty of being eaten alive, and as always a family left wondering what really happened to their loved one.

Let’s start at the beginning. Amos Kale Mortier was born on April 28, 1977. He has been missing since Nov 8, 2004. Police believe that he was murdered. This year marks the 12th anniversary. A lot has been written about this case (links in the resource section below) but this year we add something that hasn’t been done before: an indie movie production.

The Vanishing

Amos Mortier’s (27) disappearance sparked a massive federal drug investigation since he went missing on Nov. 8, 2004. Mortier handled one of Madison Wisconsin’s largest marijuana operations. Police believe that he was murdered over an $80,000 drug debt.

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After too many unanswered phone calls, some friends went to his house. They found a half-rolled joint near his DJ turntables. The records were still spinning. This indicates that someone interrupted Mortier.

These friends who came to Mortier’s house removed items including a safe. Only then would they call the police. The safe turned out to be empty. Suspicious behaviour.

Gnosis, Mortier’s Malamute (he is in the photograph with Mortier) was missing too. Mortier’s mom thought that maybe her son injured himself while walking Gnosis. Family and friends searched for the dog. A neighbor later found the Malamute wandering the streets. No sign of Mortier.

According to the newspapers, Amos Mortier received monthly shipments of Canadian-grown marijuana between 2000 and 2004. His contact was Reed Rogala. Rogala hired the drivers to get the drugs to Madison (WI). Mortier then split up the drugs among people who sold it for him. Rogala was later sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison.

Jacob Stadfeld is a prime suspect in Mortier’s disappearance. Some people say that he stole 30lbs of marijuana from Mortier. He is awaiting trial on drug charges but he may not have killed Mortier. A man labelled by the news site Isthmus as “Brad Green” has allegedly admitted that it was he who killed Mortier.

Mortier didn’t lead a crime-free life, no. But to his mom, Margie Milutinovich, he was Amos. Just Amos. He was “a sweet guy with infectious laughter, who enjoyed collecting gemstones, making music, farming organically and dining at upscale eateries like Restaurant Magnus, where a former waiter recalls, “He was treated like vegan royalty.”

Indie Movie

As my readers know, I do not discriminate between victims with or without a criminal record. That is contrary to what I believe. I believe that every victim of an unsolved homicide deserves to have their case solved. Period. Every victim leaves behind people who keep wondering what happened and why. Every victim had a place in someone’s heart. To not post at all about victims with a criminal record would be a slap in the face of their families and friends who seek help.

Margie is supported by people who believe that her son’s case deserves to be solved just like any other.  Helping her are Investigative Journalist Nathan J. Comp and Director/Co-Producer/Editor Kristina Motwani.

Here is Kristina in her own words:

I didn’t know Amos personally, but am from the Madison area and knew friends of his when he went missing. The case haunted me for years, I would always google his name in the hopes there would be some writing or update that they had found out what had happened to him.

The only person who I found was writing about the case many years after the fact was Nathan Comp, who also happened to be someone I knew as a fellow student. I reached out to him and after discussing the case and his involvement I was surprised this hadn’t had a wider audience, he had pieced together evidence that deserved at least a look over by the police and detectives, but he was basically ignored!

After meeting with friends of Amos and his family, especially his mother Margie, it became ever clearer that this story needed to be told. We began production a year ago, with me self-funding the project. At this point we need more funds to get through shooting. This is a compelling and important story and we want to share it with the world.”

Witness

There is a witness who testified before a Grand Jury in 2006. This witness said that the authorities didn’t seem to listen when he pointed to “Green” as the killer. He explained how “Green” intimidated his family. This witness told the Grand Jury also that “Green” owed Amos Mortier about $80,000 in drug sales. Mortier had supplied “Green” with drugs however “Green” was robbed by an unidentified man before he could pay Mortier.

According to that witness, “Green” tricked Mortier to come to an isolated spot (maybe to hand over the money?). There they struggled and Mortier was killed. “Green” then took Mortier’s body to a hog farm, dumped it there as food for the hogs, went to Mortier’s house, emptied his safe, let the dog out, and fled.

Is it possible? The safe was empty when opened, the dog was indeed gone (but was unharmed when he was found later), and there are indeed cases where hogs have eaten humans. One example is here and another is here.

So is this story worth checking? This witness has a record and I understand the hesitation to invest detective hours into his story. But here is the rub: it is all they have.

Alternative approach

Now Comp is taking another approach: “An anonymous source leaked thousands of pages of confidential police reports, witness testimony, and various other records from secret state and federal probes into the disappearance of Amos Mortier.  

In the book I am writing about the case, as well as in this film, we reconstruct with a remarkable level of evidentiary detail the circumstances and coincidences that conspired to seal Amos’s fate in November 2004.

This dragnet muddied the investigative waters enough for them to reinforce the tunnel vision they had developed around a single suspect. A key piece of what we’ve done is adjusted for significant errors made early on that were never corrected as new information came to them. Everything they needed to solve this case was in front of them by the third day of the investigation. Rather than move the pieces around to see where in the puzzle they fit, the investigation went on tangents and down dead ends, drumming up the huge amount of irrelevant information that turned the puzzle into a mystery.”

According to the Wisconsin’s Channel 3 (2013): “Fitchburg Police Department admitted years ago they think he was murdered, but haven’t found his body. They need help and for the first time police are presenting Amos’ case to a group of special investigators called the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators.” However, according to Comp “Fitchburg police have never sent the case to the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators. Amos’s mother, Margie, talks about this in an interview I did with her recently and which is posted at TheVanishedPodcast.com.”

I have not found any recent updates in this case. If you have any new links please contact me so we can adjust this post.

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Amos Kale Mortier led a double life. He was both a loving caring son and a drug-dealer. His family wishes to see questions answered. The Mortier disappearance remains unsolved. However, maybe the project from Comp and Motwani can change this. Here is the Kickstarter page with details about the movie and the case.

If you have any information about this case please contact the Fitchburg police department at 608-270-4300. There’s a $25,000 reward.

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Resources

Kickstarter

Isthmus

Find Amos

NBC 

Missing Persons

NamUs

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In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis. Often more information can be found online or in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about this case then I encourage you to post them on your own social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.) Every time that we mention Amos’ name online we enhance his digital footprint.

We must make sure that Amos Mortier keeps his web presence if we ever wish to find answers in his case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.

Thank you for remembering Amos Kale Mortier with us.