Suspect arrested in 2014 hit and run that killed 2 in Polk County, Wisconsin

Charlie Wiese
Updated: October 22, 2020 09:05 PM
Created: October 22, 2020 01:22 PM

A suspect has been arrested in relation to a 2014 cold case hit-and-run that killed two men in Polk County, Wisconsin.

Forty-one-year-old Richard Cobenais and 28-year-old Benjamin Juarez were walking on County Road E in northwest Polk County when a dark-colored Ford pickup truck hit them, stopped and then took off in January 2014.

"Our community and these family members can now start to heal," said Brent Waak, the Polk County Sheriff.

"There is so much to be grateful for now, I'm just glad we can begin to close this chapter of our life and move on, this is really overwhelming for my family right now," said Thomas Fowler, the stepson of Richard Cobenais 

"I was so happy when they said they did...they found somebody ... I'm really happy," Benjamin Juarez's grandmother, Shirley at the press conference with the Law Enforcement on Thursday afternoon.

According to the criminal complaint, on Sept. 28, 2020, a deputy from the Polk County Sheriff's Office took a call from a person who said that his estranged wife was intoxicated and told him that her friend, identified as 32-year-old Andrew Mathias Endres, was intoxicated and was driving the truck that hit and killed Juarez and Cobenais. The caller told the deputy that Endres was not alone when the incident occurred and was in the area staying at his parent's cabin. 

On Oct. 3, the deputy interviewed the caller in Woodbury. He said that he was arguing with his soon-to-be ex-wife over how much time she spent with Endres. The wife then told him that Endres was having a hard time after seeing a recent story on a Minnesota TV station about a hit-and-run incident, and that was the reason she was spending so much time with him. She told the interviewee that Endres said "they" ran out of beer and were going to the store to get more when the crash occurred. Endres was intoxicated at the time, according to the interviewee.

Sheriff hopes social media case file brings new leads in cold case

Using cellphone records, police located a witness whose phone was in the area of the crash and communicating with Endres's phone at the time. The witness said that he got into the car Endres was driving. He said they hit the men and Endres was aware of that fact.

The witness said that he and Endres have not talked about the incident for several years, as it brings up bad memories and feelings. He also stated that while both he and Endres had consumed alcohol that night, they did not feel as though they were intoxicated. 

Endres is charged with two counts of hit-and-run resulting in death. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

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