STEVENS POINT – Jurors in the trial for a Plover man charged with the murder of his wife in March 2017 spent Tuesday morning hearing from the couple’s children, both from taped interviews and testimony from their older daughter.
Jason Sypher, 44, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide of and hiding the corpse of Krista Sypher, 44. Krista Sypher’s remains have not yet been found.
Bonnie Fries, an FBI child interview expert, talked with both of Jason and Krista Sypher’s daughters in November 2017, about eight months after their mother’s disappearance. Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Annie Jay played the video of the two girls’ interviews for the jury on the second day of Jason Sypher’s trial Tuesday. Each girl was interviewed in a room at school.
Daughters talk about parents’ fights
The couple’s youngest daughter was worried about talking to Fries.
“My grandpa said I shouldn’t talk to the cops unless my lawyer knows,” the young girl said.
The girl went into details about how in the past if the police came to her house, she would lock the door, turn off the lights and television and sit quietly until they went away.
Fries told the girl she didn’t work for the police and that she was with an officer the girl had already talked to when her grandfather and Jason Sypher reported Krista Sypher missing March 20. Fries offered the girl paper and markers and the two drew pictures together as they talked.
Fries asked the girl to talk about the last day she saw Krista Sypher.
“The last time I saw mom was when I kissed her goodbye,” the girl said.
The younger daughter talked about how her older sister had breakfast and got ready for school that day. Jason Sypher took the older girl to school, her younger sister said. The younger girl slept with her mother on the sofa and then got ready for school herself. Jason and Krista Sypher took the younger girl to school that day.
The younger girl said she asked her father whether he would take her home after school, but he said no. She said she should have gone home because her mother was gone when they went home later.
Jason Sypher and his wife had fights that had scared the younger daughter, the pair’s older daughter said during her conversation with Fries. During one fight, Jason Sypher took his wife’s phone, broke it with a hammer and ran it under water, she said.
Krista Sypher would yell for the girls to call 911, the younger girl said. She said she didn’t call 911 because her father shouted not to call. Krista Sypher was trying to get Jason Sypher arrested, the girl said. She said her mother would cause bruises to herself, so she could tell police Jason Sypher did it.
The older girl also told Fries about the fights between her parents. She said she called her grandparents twice because her younger sister had gotten frightened by the yelling and began to cry. The older girl said her mother had gotten obnoxious and crazy and her father was trying to calm her down.
The older sister said her father was stressed out after Krista Sypher’s disappearance. Jason Sypher kept trying to call Krista Sypher’s cellphone and left messages asking Krista Sypher where she was, the girl said.
The older sister told Fries that the family didn’t talk much about Krista Sypher by the time the November interviews took place. Talking about Krista Sypher made Jason Sypher sad and Krista Sypher’s parents angry, she said. She said her younger sister cried a lot about her missing mother.
The older girl talked about hearing in the news that police were searching a landfill for Krista Sypher. She said she was happy at the thought that her mother would be found.
Older daughter speaks at trial
Taking the stand Tuesday afternoon, the eldest of the Syphers’ talked about Krista’s birthday that would have taken place a short time after her disappearance. The older daughter said they celebrated birthdays at her grandparents’ house.
The older sister said she never saw her mother hurt herself and she never heard her mother yell for her to call 911.
The girl said her mother would go out and party a lot, going out to dinner with friends and then go out to drink. Krista Sypher would leave her daughters home alone and then pound on the locked garage door for her older daughter to let her in after getting home, the girl said.
Evidence found in dumpster
On Tuesday afternoon, Michael Sayner, former manager of The Store, 1011 Post Road, Plover, took the stand and talked about how the business, formerly a BP, had installed surveillance cameras in order to catch people who had been throwing garbage into the store’s dumpsters.
The cameras had recorded a silver car stop at the service stations dumpsters at 2:53 p.m. March 17, and someone threw something into the dumpsters.
Plover Police Sgt. Michael Tracy said he searched the dumpsters at The Store and found a Aeropostale shopping bag. Inside the bag was a mangled iPhone with a rose gold case.
GPS tracking on Krista Sypher’s Chevy Cruze, which was left at Krista and Jason Sypher’s home on Hoffman Drive in Plover, shows the car was at The Store at the same time the video showed someone drive to the dumpsters and throw something in, Tracy said.
Cynthia Murphy, president of Gilware Digital Forensics, said she looked at the phone found in the dumpster, but she couldn’t retrieve any data from the phone. Murphy said the phone had been damaged by a great deal of force. Murphy said she believed someone deliberately damaged the phone.
Corissa Wobler, an identification expert at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, said she couldn’t get any fingerprints off the cellphone found in the dumpster, but she was able to match fingerprints on the Aeropostale bag with Jason Sypher. There were 19 fingerprints on the bag and nine belonged to Sypher, Wobler said.