Susan Poupart
Susan Poupart
A 17-year-old investigation involving the death of a Lac du Flambeau woman was the focus of a secret "John Doe" hearing held Thursday in Vilas County Circuit Court, said sheriff's department chief deputy Joseph Fath.

Though he would not discuss details of the evidence-gathering probe into the death of Susan Poupart, Fath said something recently emerged to bring about the secret hearing. Poupart's body was found Nov. 22, 1990, in a Price County forest area after she was reportedly last seen alive May 20, 1990, at an early morning party in Lac du Flambeau. She was 29.

Fath said he "feels strongly" there are people in Lac du Flambeau who know what happened to Poupart 17 years ago, for which assistance from the community is being sought to resolve the matter.

Fath said a John Doe investigation can continue over a long period of time. The probe involving Poupart's death, which has been determined to be a homicide following a medical examination, has a subsequent hearing planned for June 20.

Though there is no statutory requirement for a John Doe hearing to be open, Fath said district attorney Albert Moustakis would be seeking an open hearing next month.

When asked between Friday morning's court deliberations about the John Doe investigation into Poupart's death, Moustakis declined to discuss the matter.

Fath said a state Division of Criminal Investigation agent has been assisting the sheriff's department since 1997 with the murder investigation.

Kevin Boneske can be reached at