Prayer vigil held for Lafayette County murder victims

More than 200 people attend Wiota event

An overflow crowd sang and prayed Wednesday for the three murder victims who died in Lafayette County this weekend.

More than 200 people came to the Wiota Lutheran Church, in rural Wiota Township.

A brother found the bodies of Gary Thoreson, 70, Chloe Thoreson, 66, and Dean Thoreson, 76, on Sunday. The lone suspect, Jaren Kuester of Waukesha, remains in the Lafayette County Jail awaiting a court appearance.

 “The peace and quiet has been ripped apart again,” the Rev. Luke Smetters of Wiota Lutheran Church said at the vigil. The Thoresons were active members of the church’s membership.

 Smetters told his congregation to grieve, breathe and move forward using their faith.

 It may not be the only vigil held in honor of the Thoresons, he said.

 Surviving members of the victims’ family weren’t in attendance, Smetters said.

“They know that we’re praying for them, and they very much appreciate that,” he said. “They’ve found immense comfort in your prayers these past few days, and I want you to know they’re praying for you too.”

Details on how the Thoresons were killed remain unclear, as does the suspect’s motive.

Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley has not held a news conference about the investigation, and said Tuesday that he wouldn’t be releasing more details “until further notice.”

 Kuester, 31, remains in the jail on three tentative homicide charges.

 He may not make an initial court appearance until next week, Pedley said Tuesday.

VIDEO: Hundreds gather to pray for 3 victims in Wiota