Man found dead near Sandstone, 3 charged

A missing Barron, Wisconsin man was found dead inside a Sandstone cabin April 23. Christopher Etchison was first reported missing April 19 and the use of his debit card to purchase gas led to the arrest of three people in Wisconsin: Jesse J. Scribner, 20, of Clayton; Levi S. Mattila, 18, of Barron and Marcella J. Hill, 18, Chetek.

Etchison may have died after getting into a drinking contest at a party the night of Friday, April 12.

The criminal complaint charges Scribner with Felony Identity Theft, Obstructing an Officer (repeat offense) and Bail Jumping. Mattila has been charged with Felony Identity Theft and Obstructing an Officer. Hill was charged with Obstructing an Officer.

The three defendants had been staying in an apartment with Etchison and originally told investigators they hadn’t seen the missing man since witnessing him get into a black car that had other occupants inside. Mattila stated he had since attempted to get ahold of Etchison and received no response but “was not worried because Christopher was an adult.”

After a visit to WESTconsin Credit Union, an investigator learned that Etchison’s debit card had been used April 13 to purchase gasoline at a gas station in Barron.

Video surveillance of that transaction shows two males identified as Scribner and Mattila making the purchase. The video shows Hill sitting in the back seat of the vehicle.

The complaint states during questioning Scribner denied knowing what happened to Etchison, or that he had anything to do with his disappearance. Mattila said that a week earlier he, Scribner and Hill all went to a party at a cabin in Minnesota, but they arrived after Etchison had left. After further questioning, Mattila stated that Etchison got into a drinking contest at the party and they brought him to a cabin because he was really drunk. Mattila allegedly indicated they noticed Etchison was unresponsive and knew he was dead. He stated that he, Hill and Scribner left and returned to Barron. Mattila stated they found Etchison’s debit card and used it to purchase gas.

Investigators were contacted April 23 by the Shell Lake Police Department with information that the location of the party was  Sandstone Minnesota. The Pine County Sheriff’s Office located the cabin where Etchison’s body was discovered inside.

A check of records on file at the Barron County Clerk of Court’s office reveal Scribner signed a $1,500 signature bond in Barron County for the open case charging him with Possessing/Illegally Obtained Prescription, with a jury trial scheduled for May 6, 2019. Conditions of that bond include that Scribner not commit any crimes.

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