The lives of a troubled, 22-year-old Cameron man and his former girlfriend, also 22, both came to an end in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 12, in a fatal stabbing incident at a Cameron trailer court and a fatal crash, involving a car and dump truck, on a darkened stretch of Hwy. 8, west of Barron.
Since that time, Barron County Sheriff’s Department investigators have been piecing together the apparent links in a sequence of events that resulted in the stabbing death of Audra Poppe, at a trailer park on South Limits Avenue, Cameron, and a car-versus-dump truck crash that ended the life of Eldon S. Jackson.
Both deaths took place between midnight and 6 a.m. Sept. 12, according to authorities.
At press time late Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 17, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said his department was still actively investigating the incidents.
He confirmed that the stabbing took place at Jackson’s home address, a mobile home at 800 S. Limits Ave., Cameron. The sheriff said investigators knew Jackson lived there, even though they weren’t sure who actually owns the property.
The stabbing victim, whose body was found in Jackson’s residence, had been in a relationship with Jackson, but the investigation showed they were no longer together, Fitzgerald added.
“We are still investigating why (Poppe) was at the trailer,” he added.
Fitzgerald didn’t know whether any formal charges would emerge from the investigation.
“When we get everything done, we will have the district attorney’s office review it all for any (possible) charges,” he said.
Accident probe precedes stabbing
Sheriff’s deputies and the Cameron Police Department became involved in the twin incidents in reverse chronological order, starting with an odd telephone call about three hours before the fatal accident, and four hours before the stabbing was reported.
Just before 3 a.m. on Sept. 12, dispatch logs indicate that someone identifying himself as Eldon Jackson called 911 and informed dispatchers “he need(ed) an ambulance because someone broke into his house … (and) … people are messing with him.”
The log said that the caller later informed dispatchers he didn’t want an ambulance. The caller “seems to be (intoxicated) and … freaking out,” the log said. A deputy went to Jackson’s home, but no one would come to the door.
The fatal accident was reported shortly before 6 a.m. The Barron Fire Department, Mayo Ambulance and sheriff’s deputies were paged to the 1200 block of Hwy. 8. There, a car driven by Jackson had collided with a dump truck driven by 52-year-old Robert Tourville, of Prairie Farm.
Photos taken at the scene show the car was demolished and fragmented by the force of the impact, but that Tourville’s truck cab was largely intact. A later press release indicated Tourville was hospitalized. Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene.
The press release also said the car Jackson was driving was registered to Audra Poppe, the victim of the stabbing.
The crime, itself, was reported just before 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, when a woman called 911 to report a “deceased female” had been found at Jackson’s residence in Cook’s Mobile Home Park.
The caller told dispatchers that “a few people had entered” the trailer. Dispatchers told the caller “to have everyone stay out.” The caller said she would wait outside until police arrived.
Victims’ past recalled
Barron County Circuit Court records indicate Jackson, a former Barron resident, had a police record dating back to when he was 17 years old.
His most recent court cases were decided in January 2019, when he reached a plea deal and was sentenced to six months in jail in connection with multiple felony and misdemeanor charges that include criminal damage to property, vehicle theft, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, felony battery, methamphetamine possession, obstructing an officer and bail jumping, as well as two years’ probation following his release.
At the time of the plea deal, Jackson had already been jailed since the previous August.
Jail records said Jackson was eligible for release in late June.
Allison Poppe, sister of the stabbing victim, wrote a blog post that said (in part) that Audra “wasn’t exactly what I would call someone who made life easy on herself.”
She said her sister and Jackson had an on-again, off-again relationship since high school. But, about a year ago, there were signs Audra had begun to turn her life around.
“Nobody had seen her so happy since before she was a teenager,” Allison Poppe wrote.