Remember Donna

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77 Comments

Reply Jean Raufmann
11:11 PM on December 30, 2014 

Not sure what happened to my comment, so I'm reposting ....

Beautiful website ... such a wonderful way to remember your sister. I was 12 years old and living in St Francis, when Donna was tragically taken. And tho I didn't know her, or your family, I remember crying over her death. Maybe it was because the closeness in our ages, or the similarities in our families (8 siblings). I'm not certain, but I do remember it well. I still have the newspaper clipping from her death. I have come across the article throughout the years, and found it again today, while looking thru a box of items I saved from my childhood. I cut out the article from the newspaper, and I remember doing it. My mom asked why I was saving it, and I told her I was scared and sad, but I don't believe she knew I still had it. Had saved it for 30+ years. (she passed in Sept.) So that is what prompted me to look into Donna's death, and how I found your website.I am so pleased to know that there is finally closure for you and your family. And for Donna.

Rest in peace, Donna, you will forever be missed by many.


Reply steve Quirk
9:37 PM on October 14, 2014 

This horrible person is a relative of mine.  He is the adopted son of my deceased Great Aunt and Uncle.  I remember him as a hoodlum loser.  He came to our house on 58th Street for a few holiday meals.  I feel very fortunate today that he never preyed upon my siblings or I.  I was 14 in 1970.  I remember the last time I saw hi.  It was when a buddy and I rode our bikes to his house.  I recall his wife being there.  It leaves a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Please be assured that his misery will last into eternity.  All my best wishes to your family.

Reply Steve
9:30 PM on October 14, 2014 

My sincere sympathy. 

Reply Elaine
7:50 PM on October 13, 2014 

I grew up on the northwest side of Milwaukee and was 9 when Donna disappeared. I remember my parents being scared that something so horrible could happen in our wonderful city. I didn't know her, but her death made me very sad. She has crossed my mind throughout the years. She is surely happy in Heaven and watching over her family. I've been following the progress of her story and am happy that her killer will be behind bars for the rest of his life. May Donna rest in peace and may her family be comforted by God's warm embrace.

Reply Mary Saleh
2:37 AM on December 18, 2012 

Dear Virginia, and to your family, While I was in my last year of High School in 1970, and I do have some memory of the most tragic way in which Donna lost her life. In reading about Donna again in recent months after her murder Case was finally solved and the man who ended her life was finally brought to justice, I learned that she received Jesus Christ our Lord God and Savior in her first Communion at St. Michael's Church, I want to let you know that as I am a graduate of St. Michael's School in 1966, and I attended Mass there each week until 1976. Although I lived near 24th and State, It is in this way that I would like to show my respect and support for Donna and for you, and your family and I like to see all of your photos of your family and Donna at her First Communion at St. Michael's.  I am sure that even in Eternal Life in Heaven with God and His Angels, Donna is with you in spirit, and continues to give her love to you. I keep you and your family in my prayers, Virginia. May God Bless you in His care. I am on Facebook if you wish to contact me also. With Love and prayers from St. Michael's,   Mary Saleh.  

Reply Kim Tarantino
8:08 PM on December 12, 2012 

I used to live with my family across the alley from your family.  My younger sister Niki used to play with Donna.  I occasionally hung out with Eileen.  I have never forgotten Donna or your family.  I ran into John a few years ago and asked if they had ever arrested anyone for what they did to Donna.  He told me then nothing was solved.  I am so happy to hear they finally have the monster that did that to her!  My heart goes out to all of you, you have been in my thoughts and prayers for all these years.  I think Donna can finally rest in peace.  Also very sorry for the loss of your parents and Eddie.  Peace and Happiness to you all, Kim Tarantino

Reply Arturo Juarez
12:19 PM on November 21, 2012 

I was happy to read that another cold case had been solved and after 43yrs is amazing. I grew up in that area like around 26th and North Ave I walked those streets everyday from 1969-73 then joined the military. I remember the Kohls and the Grebes and probably went their daily, most of our crowd hung out at Washington Park. I want to say I hope their is closure for your family for Donna. I will think of Donna when I go visit the cemetery where my sister is, she is also a cold case since 1992 her name is Ninfa Lissa Gordon. I have found new hope now that my sisters case will be resolved one day. Happy Thanksgiving Day !    Sincerely, Art Juarez 

Reply Niki
7:14 PM on November 20, 2012 

My name is Niki Tarantino and I lived across the ally from you on 32nd street. I use to play with Donna. We sang on our swing set together. We played 7-up against the garage in the ally. We climbed the mountain at the end of the ally on Lloyd.

I remember the night I heard her name on the news. Like your family, mine did not talk about it. I was a 9 year old with a violently murdered friend, and no one talked to me about it.

I think of her periodically and the fun we had. The weird thing is a while back I put her name on Google and came up with nothing. My sister wrote me last night and told me she heard this story. I have goose bumps reading about her and seeing the pictures. She was very cute.. Because no one talked of it, I started to think it did not happen. But I knew it happened. I thought no one remembered, except me.

I am so happy that you decided to peruse the case. It felt like no one cared for a long, long time because of all the silence. For years I put it out of my head. When I turned around 35, I started to think about her again.

I am so happy for you and sad that you had to go through what you did.

God Bless you and yours,

Niki

Reply Therersa Salinas
6:53 PM on November 20, 2012 

 I just heard the news that they have the person responsable for Donna's death...I also went to 31st street school....We in the same class, and if i remember correctly, John was also in the same class with us...trying to remember the teacher's name,  Ms Goodnature ?  Ms Sanden ?   That  was a  long time ago, but i can clearly  remember the day Donna dissapeared ..The police  were going house to house asking for any information.  The whole neighborhood was devastated by her death..I have four sisters, and i remember my mom was scared to send us to school for a couple of days...Her death has always bothered me through the years because things like that just didnt happen back then..I remember Donna as being very shy and the quietest girl in class...I hope the family will have some closure ..Finally.   May  Donna now Rest in Peace 

Reply Jill
9:58 AM on November 20, 2012 

Virginia, to see your picture in todays (11/20/2012) Journal was heartbreaking. 43 years later, and your heart is still broken as evidence of you wiping tears from your face. I hope closure is near.

 

Reply lori
9:56 AM on November 20, 2012 
Donna was a friend, we played together during the summers. I lived on 32 st.
Reply Gretchen
9:25 PM on November 19, 2012 

I am just sick it was a neighbor.To think you might of spoke to him or smiled at him,The lives he has ruined.She most likely was not his first victim or the last.They need to see if any were missing in his time frame.My husband had a sister murdered in 1966 at the age of 10,Holloween went to daylight hours.He was caught and still in jail.He out lived the parents.The entire family went through the blame stage.He is a serial killer yet we fight to keep him locked up.Where is fair?One sister drank her self to death.Another big family.Virginia I knew Donna and think I went to school with a brother-But that did touch many of us and we never forgot.Nor did you!!A sister with backbone I hope someday I would have the honor to meet you.Your a strong woman.Go girl!!!She is smiling down on you.

Reply Connie Cain
8:39 PM on November 19, 2012 

Thanks for finding the courage to step forward and help bring a murderer to justice.


Reply Gretchen
1:12 PM on November 19, 2012 

Virginia,I would be proud to call you my sister.You (never) gave up.None of you children were to blame.Be proud of yourself and may that scum rot in hell.

Reply Ann
11:24 AM on November 19, 2012 

Praying for justice for your family. No matter how hurt or upset your parents were, NONE of you children were to blame for what happened to your sister. I had never heard of the case until recently since I wasn;t born when it happened,but I am sorry for your loss.

Reply don
10:54 AM on November 19, 2012 

Remembering Donna and honoring her with this website is very touching.

My wish for Donna is that she never suffers again. Rest in peace sweet angel.

Reply Rita
12:52 PM on November 18, 2012 

I am so sorry and hoping that justice will be served after all these years.

Reply Ben McCanna
9:31 PM on November 13, 2012 

I lived at 2135 N 31st St. I went to school with Donna(31st Street school). We use to walk home from school together everyday. At 32nd & Brown we would say goodbye. I guess you could say we were childhood sweethearts. I thought that to be the cdase because my sister Hope would say "Bennys got a girlfriend." Looking back maybe she was right.

The picture of Donna in the vacant lot where your house use to be is exactly how I remember her. I remember walking on top of the snowbanks with her pretending they were rollercoasters. I rember having alot of fun with her.

I remember the bad news too. That night my mother sat us down on the couch to tell us what happened to Donna. Being nine years old i dont think i really understood why something so bad could have happened to her.

I often wondered who the personn was that took her life and why? I hope for piece of mind and to put some closure to your family tha Robert Hill is the person who took Donna from you and your family. I dont understand why it took so long.

Donna even though you are no longer with us, thank you for the childhood memories you gave to me.

Ben McCanna Franklin, WI

 

 

Reply Sandy Fischer
5:22 PM on November 9, 2012 

I look at the picture of your sister and wonder if we had played together as children.  I grew up on 27th and Lloyd and went to Elm St. school. I dont recall the day your sister passed but I'm sure my mother was very cautious after that time because I remember she started making my brother accompany me everywhere I went. I am so very sorry for your loss but hopefully this new development can bring closure for all of you.  Your parents have already joined her and have their closure so it is time for all of you to heal as well.  God bless you and may the man responsible for her death rot somewhere where he will get his just reward..

Reply Susan
12:51 PM on November 9, 2012 

What a precious little girl to die so young!!! I am so sorry to hear about this. My birthday is 2/26 and will say a prayer for her on that day. I believe God has taken care of her all these years. May God bless you and your family.

Reply Denise Pavlak
4:06 PM on November 8, 2012 

God Bless you Donna. I hope you found peace.

Reply Amanda
12:15 PM on November 7, 2012 

Rest in peace, Donna!  Justice will be served.

Reply Paula
12:40 AM on November 7, 2012 
To my cousin Donna's family, I am so glad to hear that the case is on its way to finding justice finally, I just hope & pray he is sentenced to life for what he did to Donna & the other innocent children he's offended that have to live with the trauma he caused them & their families!!! It just disgusts me to see his face, for it is of a true evil nature!!! He needs to be locked up with the key thrown away so he's never allowed into our society to reoffend another innocent child or family again!!! Truely there is NO excuse for what he's done to anyone out there, he can NOT blame his crimes on how he grew up!! That to me is a copout excuse to justify his crimes he committed using it as a justified reason why he killed & assaulted innocent children, & I will NOT buy into that excuse he's trying to use as a defense so he can get off being charged & allowed into society!!! If he knew information about details NEVER known to the public he deserves to stand trial & face his just punishment of life in prison for Donna's murder!!! Wishing, hoping & praying hard his date of justice prevails & he gets life!!! I love you cuzzo's & hold strong to know God will find justice & closure you all need!!! Your mum would be soooo proud of you Virgina!!! Love you all, your cousin, Paula
Reply Julie
6:37 PM on November 6, 2012 

Alana Kay says...

I am a spirit medium living in Maui, Hawaii. I grew up in Milwaukee and was haunted by Donna's death because I was the same age and attended Steuben Jr. High School. During the last two weeks, I am constantly having images of Donna coming to me. They come out of the blue while I am doing other things. I asked her tonight why she is coming into me. You may have heard this before, but I must tell you...she wants you to know that she is fine and she is in heaven. 

I can't even imagine how much you have suffered. I have children of my own. People do horrible things sometimes. People also make mistakes. This is part of our walk on earth. We came here to learn how to love and to learn how to forgive. Donna and Jesus would love to see you forgive yourselves. God loves you and knows that you are perfect. There is no reason for forgiveness. We forgive because we know we are perfect souls in an imperfect world.

Reply Karen
5:48 PM on November 6, 2012 

This really saddens me.  You must be a very strong family to have perservered this.  Donna will remain in my thoughts.  She lives on in our hearts. 

Reply Priscilla
4:10 PM on November 6, 2012 

I have read the stories of Donna in the Milwaukee JS; I hope the day comes when you all can find closure, peace,  and forever remember her in your hearts!

God Bless. 

Reply Tommy Bernier
2:12 PM on November 6, 2012 

I remember Donna. We would always be playing together since our sisters were really close friends. I can truly say that I loved being with her.. We were like a young couple always doing things together!!!  Yes Eileen I too rememebr carrying her over freshly tarred roads so she would not burn her feet. I truly do miss her and always will..   Love You Donna            Your Friend forever     Tommy

Reply [email protected]
1:35 PM on November 6, 2012 

Virginia & Family,

My thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family. I'm thankful that justice is finally on it's way. Virginia, you are a courage young woman and I'm glad to have you as a a friend. I'm only a phone call away honey. 

Pamela Brown

Reply Barbara
10:58 AM on November 6, 2012 

When I read this article I knew immediately that the man that killed Donna was the same person that abducted me in the winter of 1973. I was 10 years old and walking alone in the winter at about 7:00 at night near my home in West Allis (near S. 60th street) Nothing happened to me because the man let me go and I happened to be in the alley right behind my house so I ran home to safety. After this incident,  I looked through many pictures and lineups; was interviewed by police, but the case was never solved. When I read this story, I called the cold case detectives and they listened but said that there wasn't much that they could do. When I saw the photo in the Journal today, I knew it was the same person.  I have an eleven year old daughter and I'm very protective of her because of this, but in the 70"s it was a little different.

I am so sorry for the Willings' loss and I cried the first time I read this article.  It brought back awful memories for me, but I always hoped that justice would come to this man and it is unfortunate that it happened after children were killed. It's not just about justice it's also about forgiveness. This man appears to have had a tragic life and some severe problems and I pray for him and his family.  

Reply Barb
10:47 PM on November 5, 2012 

I currently live a block from where Donna was found (on 52nd and Lloyd), and I have a daughter the same age right now.  I can't even imagine...I am so sorry for all you have endured, but I hope the new developments will help to bring you and your family a sense of peace and closure. 

Reply Haley
9:33 PM on November 5, 2012 

I am Milwaukee native and a college student who read about Donna in the Journal Sentinel. It saddens me so much that her life was cut short by unspeakable evil. I offer my condolences and pray that other children will not meet this fate.

Reply Kim
9:08 AM on April 29, 2012 

What happened to her is so awful.  I didn't know Donna but I just wanted to offer my condolences for your loss. I pray and hope that justice can be found. 

Reply Lorie
8:09 PM on March 6, 2011 

I was a classmate of Donna and think of her so very often.  I have been in contact with family and so much hope to find her killer and give him justice.  I appreciate the updates and check often.  Donna is love. 

Reply Alana Kay
4:40 AM on February 26, 2011 

I am a spirit medium living in Maui, Hawaii. I grew up in Milwaukee and was haunted by Donna's death because I was the same age and attended Steuben Jr. High School. During the last two weeks, I am constantly having images of Donna coming to me. They come out of the blue while I am doing other things. I asked her tonight why she is coming into me. You may have heard this before, but I must tell you...she wants you to know that she is fine and she is in heaven. 

I can't even imagine how much you have suffered. I have children of my own. People do horrible things sometimes. People also make mistakes. This is part of our walk on earth. We came here to learn how to love and to learn how to forgive. Donna and Jesus would love to see you forgive yourselves. God loves you and knows that you are perfect. There is no reason for forgiveness. We forgive because we know we are perfect souls in an imperfect world.

Reply Hope McCanna
5:47 PM on September 13, 2010 

I also remember that horrible day. I lived at 2135 N 31st. I was in Johns class. I remember the teacher asking if we wanted to go to Donna's furneral. I have been thinking about her for years and was wondering if anyone was caught.

I remember when we didn't even have to lock our doors at night. It use to be a safe neigborhood, but after what happened to Donna that changed everything. That could of been any of us. We always would go to the store for our mother and no one gave it a second thought.

I will never forget Donna or that terrible day. I hope that get who ever did this to her. She was a sweet girl and no one deserves something to happen to them like that. I still pray that justice will be done for your family. God bless you all.

Reply zemlor
10:58 AM on August 25, 2010 

Victoria Barton says...

I was Donna's teacher that semester at Thirty-First Street School.  I have continued to think about her over the past 39 years.  Every Thursday I dismissed the students and always told them to study for their spelling test on Friday.  The next morning the principal was waiting to tell me the terrible news about Donna.  I had not seen the evening news the night before.  I remember having to tell her classmates and the police coming in to search her desk and to ask me if we had painted on Thursday in school because they found paint under her fingernails.  We had not painted.   I also remember coming to your house with the principal, Miss Caughlin, that Friday to offer our concolences and my husband and I picked up several of her classmates and took them to the funeral home and funeral. 

 

I am now retired but still think of Donna and what a quiet sweet girl she was.  Every time I drive on Lisbon around 35th Street I think of Donna.   I am still sorry for your loss.  I only lost one other student over the 35 years that I taught but that was due to a health problem.   I hope they do finally find out who did this terreible thing.   God bless you.         Victoria Barton   


Dear Mrs. Barton. 


You were the BEST  teacher and I remember you fondly.  Love.  Lori Lehr.

Reply Lori Lehr
11:24 PM on August 21, 2010 

I want you to know that Donna was a member of my class at 31st street school and a very important part of  my childhood memory that remains with me still.  I attended Donnnas funeral and her white casket lined in pink will always be with me. I was just 9 years old attending a 9 year old funeral but I remember her today as plain as the back of my hand.  I want Donna

s family to know what a impact her death had on my life.  I remember her today and will til I die.  Lori

Reply sherry phillips
2:02 PM on June 21, 2010 

Hello Virginia, I hope you and your family are doing well.  I don't have access to a computer, so it has been awhile since I wrote. I hope the investigation is coming along. God Bless the detectives who work so hard in solving this terrible crime and all other tragic crimes. i pray that one day the world will have peace, but I am afraid that the only peace we will have is in Heaven. I hope you are all doing well. Take care, love and peace, sherry

Reply Colleen Dawson
10:20 PM on December 18, 2009 

I just wanted to stop by to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, I'm sure it will be a sad time without your mom; hope memories will take the pain away. Keep us posted on Donna's investigation, please!

Reply sherry phillips
12:43 PM on November 6, 2009 

Hi Virginia, just checking in to see how you are doing. I hope you and your family are doing well. Sorry I haven't emailed in awhile, i don't have a computer at home right now, so its not always easy to get to one. In your last email to me awhile back, you wanted me to share some of my memories of Donna/your family. I have the most memories of Eileen.  For some reason I remember her reading to me and even now, whenever I hear the song 'Hang On Sloopy" by the McCoys, I think of Eileen.I had the 45, so I don't know if she played it while she babysat us or what. I remember playing on the 31st St. playground with my sister Karen and Donna. I think Donna was at a sleepover party my sister had too. I remember Pepper the Dog. I wish I could remeber more. I hope the investigation is going good. Never give up hope. Love and Peace, Sherry

Reply Pam
10:24 AM on September 15, 2009 

Virginia,

I'm so sorry.........I will pray God helps guide the investigators to the diminted person who did this. Sorry about your mom too! Take care!

Reply sherry phillips
2:23 PM on July 15, 2009 

 I just read Eileen's memories and I want to say that it was not your fault, nor your Mom's or any one else's. The monster who did this is entirely to blame and hopefully he will get what is coming to him here on earth, if not there will be a place for him in hell.    iIwish peace and love for you and your family, especially peace.     Love and peace, Sherry

Reply Colleen in West Allis
9:57 PM on May 8, 2009 

Just dropped by to check for updates, and saw the sad news about your mom. My deepest condolences to all of you for your loss. You are right, she is with "those who have gone before" in a place of happiness, light and peace.

Reply sherry phillips
8:08 AM on May 5, 2009 

I am so sorry to hear of your mother's passing.  She is at peace now  and she left knowing that many people cared about your family and Donna after all these years. God Bless you and all of your family.

Love and peace, Sherry

Reply Stephanie Quirino (nee Opgenorth)
8:23 PM on March 30, 2009 

Our family lived at 2138 North 33rd Street, just doors north of your house.  I was the youngest of the 10 Opgenorth kids (my nickname was DeeDee).  I was only 4 when Donna died, but I remember things about the day that she died.  I remember the police coming to our house, specifically talking to Donna's friend, my sister - Julie.  My most vivid memory is Donna's funeral.  I too remember the pink coffin lining and white dress.

 

About a year ago, during a family event, we talked about the day that Donna died.  We were with Kathy and Tommy Flynn (also from 33rd Street).  We all agreed that what happened to Donna had changed our lives as we knew them.  Our parents learned that our street was no longer safe and we were all kept close to home.  Later that day, I went home and went online; trying to find any information regarding Donna's case.  I was too young to know if the case had ever been solved.  I was unable to find anything.

 

About six months ago, I was in Pick N Save and I saw Virginia with your mother.  I immediately remembered who you were and wanted to stop and talk, but I didn't have the courage to do so.  I was overcome by an immediate sense of grief. 

 

Please know that Donna was NEVER forgotten and the Opgenorth family thinks of your family often. I pray that her case will be solved and that you will finally have closure.  God bless you! 

 

 

 

 

Reply Joanne Starr Turtenwald
8:04 PM on March 28, 2009 

I was a friend of Jeanne's and spent a lot of time with your family in the 60s.

Your father was a very nice man and he made me laugh a lot. I made it to his burial, but didn't have time to talk with the family.

I've always felt heartache over Donna's death! She was a sweetheart!

Reply Cheryl Curry Klompmaker
4:27 PM on March 27, 2009 

Our family was living on 36th and Garfield,  I was 10 years old and in the same grade as John at 31st Street School.  My younger brother was the same age as Donna. Our family moved across town 2 years later. I had often thought about this terrible tragedy throughout my life and it often came up in conversation with my family.  In 2005 Just before my father died I had asked him if he remembered the crime and which year it took place, though he did remember the crime he did not recall dates, names etc..  I was hoping to try and find out if it was ever solved.  I had mistakenly thought your familys last name was Williams.  I had even called the Milwukee Police department about 1 year ago asking if they remembered a case in this time and location and where would one go to see if it was ever soved.  I am so glad this case has be reopened and that your family has found the strength to continue searching,  this horrible act has affected alot of lives for a long time.  With all the people out there who still remember and care, this just has to be solved.  We hope you soon have peace!


The Curry family

Reply Joe
11:13 PM on March 26, 2009 

My name is Joe Hirth and I lived three houses from were Donna was found. I recall how terrified my mother and father were and how strict my parents became when this tragedy happened to your family. I no longer live in Milwaukee or get the Journal but an old neighbor called my mother ,who in turn called me to let me know of this story. WOW!  It's unreal to me how many people remember this tragedy.

    In the beginning of March I was playing on live search maps website. I entered the address of the house that I lived in on 51st street. I showed my wife and I pointed out the house where your sister was found. Good Lord that was 39 years ago when I was 8 and I still think of this.

   I wish and pray for you and your family that you will find peace.  God Bless

 

Joe

Plymouth, Wi

Reply Your blonde friend from upnorth
12:12 AM on March 26, 2009 

Dearest Virginia,

Thank you so much for sharing these memories and alerting me to the article. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and have comfort in knowing God is with you during this journey.

 

Love, The Raddatzs

Reply Ginny Finn
4:31 PM on March 25, 2009 

Dear Virginia and Wiling Family,

 

I have thought of your sister, Donna, often over the years, especially when I moved back to Milwaukee.  Each time I say a quick prayer.  I lived on 36th Street at the time and went to St. Thomas school.  Donna's murder changed the world for me; we were the same age.  Much less freedom, serious talks about safety with my parents, and so much sadness for a girl I never even met.  I remember lighting candles in Donna's memory for some time.

 

I was stunned to see the story in Sunday's paper and pray that justice is done.  Crime never has only one victim.  Clearly, your family has been thorugh so much more than a newspaper story can fuly tell.  I pray that sharing your story will bring some comfort and help find Donna's killer.   

 

With continued sympathy,

 

Ginny Finn