Home                             Search                                                                                Anita Alvarez , State's Attorney

Office Overview | Victim Services | Press Room | Community Resources | What's New | Careers | Juvenile Justice | Contact

 
Cook County State's Attorney's Office:
Press Releases


Anita Alvarez
Cook County State's Attorney
Communications Department
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-3423
saomedia@cookcountyil.gov


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 26, 2013

Cook County State's Attorney Brings
Charges In 13 Year Old North Suburban Murder Case


A Wisconsin man and retired Engineer has been charged with murdering his wife by forcibly drowning her in the bathtub of the couple’s South Barrington home in a case that has remained unsolved since 2000, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

Frank Buschauer, 64, of Pell Lake, Wisconsin, has been charged with First Degree Murder in connection with the murder of his wife Cynthia Hrisco, who was 47 at the time of her death on Feb. 28, 2000.  Hrisco’s lifeless body was found lying on the floor in the master bathroom of the couple’s home, which was located on Overbrook Drive in South Barrington.

Buschauer was arrested near his home on Wednesday and extradited to Cook County from Walworth County, Wisconsin.  He appeared in bond court today at the Cook County Courts Building in Rolling Meadows where Judge Jill Cerone-Marisi issued a no bail order. 

The charge against Buschauer follows an extensive, long-term investigation by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the South Barrington Police Department.  In recent years, investigators developed additional information in the case that was thoroughly re-examined by prosecutors, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and other independent forensic experts.

“A case may go unsolved for a long period of time, but we never forget our victims and I am pleased that we now have the evidence that is required to bring charges in this case and deliver some measure of justice for Cynthia Hrisco and her family,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez. 

“This charge comes as the result of a meticulous re-investigation of a cold case homicide and I want to thank our prosecutors and South Barrington police investigators for their dedicated determination.”

When the murder occurred in 2000, Buschauer and Hrisco had been married for approximately three years and were living in the South Barrington home with their 13-month-old infant.  Buschauer had called 911 in the early morning hours and reported that his wife had drowned in their bathtub.  South Barrington police responded to the home and found the victim lying face down on the floor next to the whirlpool tub. The victim had no pulse, was warm to the touch but in full rigor mortis. 

Buschauer was interviewed by police on several occasions following his wife’s death and indicated that it was possible that he killed his wife but that he could not remember.  The autopsy conducted at the time of Hrisco’s death identified a hemorrhage to the victim’s neck and abrasions and contusions to her nose, chin and other parts of her body as well as hemorrhages on the scalp and left eye. 

The Medical Examiner concluded that the cause of death was drowning, but the manner of death was labeled as undetermined.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office began a cold case review of the murder in 2010 and initiated a series of forensic and medical re-examinations of the evidence, including crime scene reconstruction and a forensic re-enactment in the bathtub in which the victim died.  As a result, the Cook County Medical Examiner changed the manner of death to a homicide attributed to the victim being forcibly submerged in the bathtub. 

According to prosecutors, the home in which the couple lived at the time of the murder had been built by Buschauer’s cousin in 1997 and Hrisco was extremely upset with the poor workmanship of the house and alleged construction cost overruns, which she believed to be around $200,000. 

According to investigators, Hrisco complained to the defendant and to friends about problems with the house and the couple constantly quarreled over the issue.  Investigators believe the victim wanted to sue the defendant’s cousin but Buschauer refused to do so, believing it would send his cousin into bankruptcy.  During the weeks prior to her death, the victim and the defendant often argued about the house. 

Six days prior to her death, the victim told a friend that her relationship with the defendant was worse than ever, and it was because of the construction issues with the house. Shortly before her death, the victim told this same friend that she was afraid of the defendant and that they no longer lived together as husband and wife. 

Following his arrest this past Wednesday, Buschauer confirmed that he and his wife had quarreled about the home construction issues and that he had put his hands on her throat and threatened to kill her.  When confronted with the evidence he stated he believed his wife’s death was possibly the result of suicide, an accident, or “I killed her.” 

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the investigators and prosecutors who worked on the case as well as Assistant State’s Attorney and Supervisor Maria McCarthy who led the re-investigation.  She also thanked the South Barrington Police Department and the Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) for their work.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

# # #

- Back -