MILWAUKEE (AP) — Authorities have charged a man with second-degree murder after he called a Milwaukee television news station and discussed details of a cold case involving a Milwaukee seventh-grade girl whose body was found more than 30 years ago.
Prosecutors say Jose Ferreira is responsible for the death of 13-year-old Carrie Ann Jopek, who went missing in 1982.
The case resurfaced last week when WISN 12 News reported that Ferreira called its newsroom and discussed the case.
“His story was very detailed — disturbingly so,” Chris Gegg, the station’s news director, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Sunday.
Gegg didn’t elaborate about those details, but said the station called police because of “several red flags.” Ferreira was later arrested in the case , which had long been dormant.
“It’s been 33 years since she’s been gone,” the girl’s mother, Carolyn Tousignant, said after Ferreira was taken into custody. “I’ve been praying for this day.”
Jopek disappeared after she was suspended from school for roaming the halls. Tousignant said her daughter got kicked out on purpose so she could go to a house party.
Tousignant said the school called and gave her the option of picking the girl up from the office, but she chose not to because they lived only a block away. It’s a decision she has come to live with.
“I blame myself sometimes,” the girl’s mother said. “She would’ve snuck over there anyway.”
Tousignant started searching the neighborhood when she realized her daughter was missing, and even went to the home where her body was later found.
The case went quiet until someone repairing an old deck came across the girl’s body 17 months after her disappearance.
“She spent two of her birthdays underneath that porch,” Tousignant said.
Ferreira was a teenager when Jopek died. He is now 50 years old, and it’s not clear why he chose to call the TV station.
He appeared in court Saturday, Milwaukee police spokesman Tim Gauerke confirmed via email. Ferreira’s attorney, Melissa Nepomiachi, didn’t return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment Sunday.
Ferreira remains in custody in Milwaukee County Jail.
“I never put it out of my mind,” said Tousignant. “Every time I watch ‘Cold Case’” or some other detective show, I would hope and pray one of these days we get the person who did that to Carrie.”
“I miss her,” she added, “so much.”