Man enters not guilty plea to murder charge

A 24-year-old Keshena man has entered a not guilty plea in federal court in Milwaukee to a charge that he murdered 25-year-old Mary Tomow, also from Keshena, March 21, 1999, on the Menominee Indian Reservation.

Christopher Matchopatow entered the plea Friday during an appearance in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He'll stand trial on the murder charge April 24.

Mary Tomow was reported missing by her mother, Gertrude Tomow on March, 25, 1998, four days after she had last seen her.

The arrest warrant states that Gertrude Tomow last saw her daughter alive on the night of March 21 in the company of Matchopatow. According to the warrant, early in the investigation he had denied that he had been with the missing woman that night. He told authorities he did not go home that night and after drinking with others slept in his car in his aunt's driveway.

Tomow's body was discovered in a wooded area on March 27,1998, near Spirit Rock Road near Highway 55 after a tribal conservation warden located some burned clothing in that area. Tomow's body was then found about 30 yards into the woods. Matchopatow was seen driving his car in that same general area in the early morning hours of March 21.

According to the arrest warrant an autopsy of Tomow indicated she died of blunt force trauma. She had suffered multiple lacerations to the face and nose, a fracture of the nasal bone and of the skull. Several broken parts of the skull were also missing. Her upper body had also been burned after being set on fire.

DNA testing on Tomow's body also indicated that the semen of Christopher Matchopatow was present.

Matchopatow could receive up to life in prison if found guilty.

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By Leader staff writer
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