Angela Drake was alive when she was dumped, partially clothed, in a rural Dane County culvert in December, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged Michael Desalvo with murdering her.
She died of exposure and hypothermia, according to the criminal complaint accusing Desalvo of first-degree intentional homicide.
DNA evidence from Drake's body matches Desalvo, and a suspected bloodstain on his mattress probably came, in part, from her, according to the complaint.
A murder charge against Desalvo had been widely expected since a police investigation identified him as the man who left the Dry Bean Saloon with Drake early Dec. 9 and took her to his Fitchburg apartment.
Police searched his wooded neighborhood for several days without finding Drake, whose body was discovered three days before Christmas near a bridge on Storytown Road in the town of Oregon. Desalvo told police he had dropped her off at her home in Oregon.
Drake's parents and other family members listened intently Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court as Desalvo, 25, appeared on the murder charge. He has been jailed since Dec. 12, first on pending drug charges and, since March 24, without bail on a drug possession conviction.
"We were informed all the time, even if it seemed like nothing was happening," said Anne Olson, Angela Drake's mother, after the court appearance.
Court Commissioner Scott McAndrew set bail at $250,000 on the murder charge, despite Desalvo having no chance of being released since he's awaiting sentencing on the drug conviction.
As outlined in the complaint, investigators believe Desalvo took Drake, who was drunk, back to his apartment early Dec. 9, had sex with her and left her in the culvert before 8 a.m.
Temperatures dipped below 15 degrees during that time, according to the National Weather Service.
"Any person would be aware that leaving a half-naked, very intoxicated human being outside, alone, on the ground in those weather conditions was practically certain to have the result of causing her death," the complaint states.
Drake was wearing only a turtleneck sweater and socks when she was found; her jeans and underwear were found in a bag in Desalvo's GMC Jimmy, the complaint states.
The complaint also says:
Police found Drake's charred identification card in a garbage can on Desalvo's porch and found evidence on his shoe that he'd been near a fire.
Melted snow around Drake's body, leaves stuck to her skin and dirt in her palms show she was alive when she arrived in the culvert.
Dr. Robert Huntington, a forensic pathologist, said "exposure/hypothermia was the cause of death for which the best pathological evidence appeared."