JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- The Janesville Police Department has had a busy few days working on two serious cases within the city limits: the death of 75-year-old Mary Coulthard, who was found in the Rock River on Friday, and the homicide of 21-year-old Britney Cross, whose body was found last Monday.
Police say at this time both cases are unrelated and are being investigated separately. Regarding the murder of Cross, officers say they have new information that has drastically changed their investigation. They were concerned about a comment that murder suspect Clayton Courtney made to his roommate the night Cross was killed.
"He now says Courtney's statement was, 'I have killed three people. We are all going to die tonight.' Before, that statement was reported to us as 'I have killed three people tonight. We are all going to die,"' Janesville Police Chief David Moore says. "The movement of that 'tonight' statement from the first sentence to the second sentence changes thing considerably. We have a much wider timeline."
Police say that simple word change leads them to believe Courtney could have been talking about victims he killed months or even years ago. That's why they're now asking other southern Wisconsin police agencies if they have any unsolved cases or missing people in their communities.
During a press conference Monday, Chief David Moore was asked whether or not Courtney's statement could've been a lie he said in the heat of the moment. Moore says it is certainly a possibility, but until his department knows for sure, officers are going to carry on as if his statement was factually correct.
Janesville police have also released new information regarding the death and disappearance of Janesville resident Mary Coulthard. Her body was recovered from the Rock River Friday night. Police have determined that she drowned, but did sustain an injury before entering the river. Chief Moore wouldn't elaborate on how serious the injury was or how it came about.
"There are three explanations one could make for Mrs. Coulthard's death. That it is a criminal act, an accidental act or an act of suicide and we're unable to prove any one of those three. We just don't have enough information to lead us towards one way or another," Chief Moore says.
Police also say Coulthard's purse, which a person found in a garbage can, was missing personal belongings. That purse and other evidence has been sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for analysis.
Police are still asking for the community's help in these two cases. They're specifically looking for information about Clayton Courtney's activities the nights of Friday May 2nd and Sunday May 4th. Anyone with information should call Janesville police.
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