POLK COUNTY -- Homicide charges have been filed against Joseph Patrick Hadro following law enforcement’s investigation into a death in Polk County, WI.

On March 9, 2022, shortly after 5p, Polk County Dispatch received a report of a trailer home fire in the Robo Village trailer court in the Village of Osceola. The caller reported that it was not known if the homeowner was at the residence at that time.

The Osceola Fire Department, Osceola Police Department, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. White smoke was observed emitting from the west side of the trailer home.

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Neighboring residents in the trailer court advised authorities that two other unknown males had been observed to be staying at the residence in recent days, and it was unknown if anyone was inside the residence.

It was determined that a forced entry into the locked residence would be appropriate, and the criminal complaint states that when the main entry door was forced open, the amount of smoke drastically increased in volume and changed in color from white to gray.

The homeowner arrived on the scene and stated that they had no knowledge about the origin of the fire. The homeowner went on to advise that there had been two subjects staying at the residence prior to the fire, who refused to leave even after the homeowner asked them to leave. The homeowner stated that they knew the two subjects as “Joe Wilcox” and “Scott”.

During interviews with the homeowner, they advised investigators that Scott and “Joe Wilcox” had arrived at the residence on March 7, 2022, with Christopher Peterson, and that they had not seen these individuals in at least a month. The homeowner had told Peterson to “pack up his stuff” and leave. On March 9, 2022, the homeowner had become frustrated that these individuals were still at the residence and had left the residence. The homeowner then later received a call from the manager of the trailer park advising of the fire, and they had returned back to the residence.

The homeowner gave the investigating authorities permission to enter the residence and take photographs after the fire was under control. During the inspection of the residence, investigators heard the sound of water running in the bathroom. Upon entering that room, a police officer noticed that the shower was running.

The shower door was jammed, and when the officer got the door open, a deceased male was discovered in the shower. The male had sustained multiple injuries, including significant trauma to the left side of the male subject’s head, directly above the left ear, and a laceration-type wound on the top right area of the victim’s head. Evidence indicated that the male had been there for a significant period of time.

Investigators confirmed the identity of the deceased male as Scott M. Zitzow through photographs and fingerprint analysis.

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A bedroom window on the south side of the residence was found to be open with a blanket hanging from it. Footprints were located in the snow outside the bedroom window, leading away from the residence. It was determined that this was a likely escape route for anyone who had been inside the residence at the time the fire started.

Investigators located a relative of “Joe Wilcox”, who identified him as Joseph Patrick Hadro, and stated that he had a history of being transient and that his current whereabouts were not known to this relative.

A press release was issued by the Osceola Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, seeking the public’s help in locating Joseph Hadro, suspected of being involved in the death of Scott M. Zitzow.

Investigators made contact with Christopher Peterson, who gave permission for his cell phone to be examined. Content discovered in text messaging conversations on the phone indicated to investigators that Peterson had information about the fire and/or the homicide.

During an interview, Peterson told investigators that when he was at the residence on March 9, 2022, Hadro had come out of a back room of the trailer and stated “I just f*cked up Scotty I think I killed him”, and indicated that he had struck Zitzow with a hammer. The criminal complaint goes on to state that according to Peterson, Hadro went into the back room of the trailer a second time, later emerging with a hammer that had blood on it, and stated that he had struck Zitzow, saying, “Yeah that f*cker disrespected me.” Peterson stated that he took the hammer from Hadro and threw it into a corner of the room because he was concerned that Hadro would use it against him as well. A search warrant was executed in an effort to locate the hammer, however, the hammer was not found.

The Preliminary Summary of the exam performed by Anne Bracey, M.D., of the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, states the cause of Scott M. Zitzow’s death was homicide by blunt force head injury.

On March 14, 2022, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued an updated press release that Joseph Patrick Hadro, age 44, had been taken into custody for the homicide of Scott M. Zitzow, age 63.

Hadro is charged with Class A Felony 1st-Degree Intentional Homicide, and Class B Felony 1st-Degree Reckless Homicide. Online records indicate that Hadro is in custody in Anoka County Minnesota.

Charges of Class G Felony Harboring/Aiding a Felon have been filed against Christopher Peterson. Online records indicate that Peterson is in custody in Chisago County Minnesota.

At the time of this post, no future court dates were listed in Polk County Circuit Court for either Hadro or Peterson.

No charges were located in online court records for the homeowner, so that person’s name is not included in this post.

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Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Last Update: Mar 18, 2022 9:09 am CDT

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