SOMERSET, Wis. — On Monday afternoon, a 52-year-old Minnesota man was charged in connection with the stabbings that occurred along the Apple River in Somerset, Wisconsin over the weekend.
Charges filed in St. Croix County against Nicolae Miu, of Prior Lake, include one count of first-degree intentional homicide and four additional counts of attempted first-degree homicide.
The five victims are between the ages of 17 and 24 and are from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Investigators say all five victims suffered stab wounds to the abdomen. Two have since been released from hospital, but one died of his injuries.
Authorities said the deceased victim is a 17-year-old boy from Stillwater. A representative from Stillwater High School confirmed on Sunday that the victim was a student there.
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was driving along the river with a group when he began stabbing more tubers and then took off. It happened near Sunrise Bridge in Somerset on Saturday afternoon and prompted a 1.5-hour search and evacuation from the river.
According to the criminal complaint, the stabbings took place after a confrontation between Miu and several others. The complaint lists several videos that have been entered into evidence, which show Miu interacting with the group, who can be heard telling her to leave. The video shows Miu appearing to be looking for something, but the complaint says some people at the scene thought he was “looking for little girls” and accused him of being a child molester.
The video shows Miu, who investigators believe has had ample time to leave the confrontation, pulls a knife from his cargo pocket. According to the complaint, the video shows him being slapped and pushed by some of the people gathered. The video also shows him stabbing some of them, including a person in a yellow bathing suit. Another person is seen in the video with a stab wound to the left side of their torso.
The complaint states that at one point Miu’s knife obviously had blood on it and there was enough blood in the water to give it a red tint in some places.
The complaint also includes details of an interview investigators had with Miu. He said he feared for his life and was looking for a cell phone that had disappeared in the water. He said the knife actually belonged to one of the other people at the scene. He also said he was sorry for the “end” of the incident and that his whole life was now “in the tubes”.
During Monday’s hearing, Miu’s attorney said the incident was a “chance encounter.” Miu has been described as being an engineer who designs cooling systems.
Miu is being held in St. Croix County Jail. Bail was set at $1 million, double the amount prosecutors were asking for.
The names of the victims have yet to be released, but one of the victims posted their story on social media.
Anyone with information, including video, is asked to call Investigator John Shilts at 715-381-4219 or email email@example.com.