Investigators on Friday looked into an additional violent threat by email — this one against Gov. Scott Walker — allegedly sent by the same Cross Plains child care provider already charged with emailing death threats to Republican state senators.
The threat against Walker, emailed Feb. 17, uses language including "watch your back Adolf Walker" and "we will not hesitate to punch where it hurts." It says it's from Katherine Windels.
Journalists discovered it as part of a review of thousands of emails sent to Walker's state account in response to his controversial budget repair bill. The Department of Justice was informed of the email — it apparently had gone unnoticed amid the electronic avalanche — and was investigating to verify its source, said spokesman Bill Cosh.
Katherine R. Windels, 26, of Cross Plains, already faces two felony bomb scare counts along with two misdemeanor counts of sending a computer message threatening injury or harm. She is scheduled for an initial court appearance April 21.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court, Windels sent a threatening email to 15 Republican senators on March 9 that began: "Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks."
News of the charges brought shock Friday to people who know the Windels family.
"You can't find finer people than those two," Pastor Rick Lund of St. Martin's Lutheran Church said of Bill and Karen Windels, Katherine Windels' parents. Her father is a mental-health nurse and her mother is a teacher, he said; both volunteer extensively at the church.
Of their daughter, Lund said: "Katherine is a good-hearted, bright young lady," while acknowledging that she "has had some struggles."
No one answered the door at the family's two-story yellow house at the end of a cul-de-sac in Cross Plains on Friday. Phone calls went unanswered.
Neighbor Kyle Roessler said the family moved into the new subdivision about four or five years ago and that their daughter always lived with her parents. He described the family as "really close," spending a lot of time in their garden in the warmer months and maintaining a cordial, if somewhat distant, relationship with neighbors.
An online profile lists Windels as a 2010 graduate of Madison Area Technical College with an associate's degree in early childhood education who's held multiple jobs as a home-care provider and teacher of young children.
At one of the jobs, Windels worked as a teacher's helper from 2007 to 2009 for an after-school program at St. Martin's called Jesus and Me. She left that job due to health problems that required surgery, said program director Virginia Diebold, but appeared healthy and happy the last time she saw her last Easter.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism contributed to this report.