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Young teen among 3 dead following car chase, shootout
Police line do not cross

PLATTEVILLE — Three people were found dead in rural Dubuque County Wednesday, April 10 and rural Dane County on Thursday, April 11.

Tana Poppe, 32, was found dead in a home in Zwingle, Iowa, Wednesday around 7:10 p.m. Dubuque County deputies were called to the house after a report of an unresponsive woman, according to a Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office news release.

The news release said that Poppe’s 13-year-old daughter and five-month-old daughter were not in Poppe’s house when her body was found.

Alexander Grunke, 38, Middleton, was found dead in a house in the Dane County Town of Albion early Thursday after a several-hour-long standoff with authorities.

The 13-year-old was found dead in a field on Washington Road northwest of Albion, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, after a police chase before the standoff.

The 5-month-old is in custody of Dane County Human Services. 

KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids reported that authorities believe Grunke killed Poppe at her home and took her two children with him to the Madison area. 

Dane County authorities were called Wednesday around 5:20 p.m. after the 5-month-old was left at a residence in the Town of Dunn.

McFarland police found the SUV reported to have dropped off the infant. Police chased the SUV through McFarland, Stoughton and southeastern Dane County rural areas, with occupants of the SUV shooting at officers, before police deployed road spikes and stopped the SUV, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said. 

Grunke and the 13-year-old left the vehicle with their firearms. The girl was found dead in a wooded area a short time later, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Grunke forced his way into a house occupied by a woman and her two children. The woman and her children were rescued from the house, but Grunke remained in the lower level of the house, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Shots were heard from inside the house, and Grunke did not respond to negotiators’ attempts to contact him nor to K-9s or chemical munitions used by police, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Grunke’s body was discovered by a robot that deputies sent into the house several hours after the standoff began.

Grunke was charged in Iowa County with abduction of a child, interfering with child custody and knowingly violating a domestic abuse order for an incident Jan. 11. His first court appearance was scheduled for June 4.

KCRG-TV reported that the criminal complaint said Poppe reported her daughter missing in January and believed she was with Grunke, Poppe’s ex-boyfriend. 

Poppe also told authorities that she had a baby, then 2 months old, with Grunke but left him. KCRG-TV reported that Poppe believed her older daughter was having a sexual relationship with Grunke, but the daughter denied having that relationship, while telling a counselor that she loved Grunke like a father.

Grunke was placed on two years probation, including 60 days in jail, in 2006 after he was convicted in a Grant County jury trial of party to attempted criminal damage to a cemetery or mortuary, attempted misdemeanor theft of up to $2,500 in movable property, and party to attempted third-degree sexual assault.

Grunke was one of three people accused of trying to dig up the grave of a 20-year-old woman in St. Charles Catholic Cemetery in September 2006. The woman had died in a motorcycle crash and had been buried a few days before the incident.

Grunke was sentenced in Dane County to three years probation, including 90 days in jail, in 2018 after he pleaded guilty to felon possession of a firearm. 

— Steve Prestegard, The Platteville Journal