Burn Barrels

The Burn Barrels

The Burn Barrels

Did you know that Steven Avery had magical burn barrels? Every time they were searched, new pieces of evidence would appear in them! They’re like a magicians magic hat – every time the magician reaches in, he pulls out something new.

Redditor MrDoradus broke down the police logs of these barrels and summarizes the findings below. Notice all the issues and inconsistencies


Edit: this has been covered already on this subreddit and here is a google docs which contains even more information if anyone prefers less words and more info.

Burn barrels vol. 2, the examination of contents:

(p. 174) 11/08/05

On 11/08/05, I (Deputy RICK RIEMER, Unit #832, of the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT) was required to collect evidence from the WI STATE CRIME LAB. I was also required to collect property from the WI STATE CRIME LAB personnel.

At 17.14 hours, I did collect from the WI STATE CRIME LAB, who had brought the items up to the CALUMET COUNTY COMMAND POST, Property Tag #8314, which was the contents of barrel #2.

At 1726 hours, I collected the contents of the cell phone barrel, Property Tag #8316.

At 1728 hours, I collected the contents of barrel #3, Property Tag #8317.

At 1734 hours, I collected Property Tag #8319, the contents of barrel #4.

All items listed were transported to the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT where they were turned over to the evidence locker.

Content’s from found in the Janda burn barrel #4 on 7th (it was then sent back to Avery property), contents found in the Janda burn barrels #2 and #3 and contents of the “cell phone” burn barrel are handed over from Ertl and collected by CASO. No mention of burn barrel #1.

(p. 180) 11/09/05

On 11/09/05, I (Deputy JEREMY HAWKINS of the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT) was asked to get some evidence ready to be sent with DCI Agent JOY for transport to the WI STATE CRIME LAB in Madison. The following items were made ready to transport down to the WI STATE CRIME LAB:

  • Properly Tag No. 8315, the contents of barrel #1
  • Property Tag No. 8314, the contents of barrel #2
  • Property Tag No. 8377, the contents of barrel #3
  • Property Tag No. 8319, the contents of barrel #4
  • Property Tag No. 8316, the contents from the cell phone barrel

Contents of burn barrel #1 possibly searched by Ertl suddenly show up, despite Ertl not even being mentioned after the last entry and the log not listing the burn barrel #1 contents in the 11/08/05 entry. Apparently Ertl’s work was done on 8th and he and his team never even searched the new, sixth, burn barrel which Reimer, Tyson and Sablich brought in on the 8th.

One would also imagine this is it for burn barrels and finding new evidence in them. A team has gone through them, they found all they could. Well, not exactly.

(p. 226) 11/11/05 by Jeremy Hawkins

On 11/11/05, DCI Agents MIKE RINDT and ROD PEVYTOE came to the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT to go through five barrels. They went through barrel marked #4 and retrieved a red, cut-off shirt, which was handed to me to be placed into evidence.

In a burn barrel without any markings, MIKE RINDT and ROD PEVYTOE retrieved an unknown burnt cloth, which I placed into evidence. MIKE RINDT and ROD PEVYTOE also recovered a bone, which was not suspected to be of human origin. I placed the bone into evidence.

After DCI Agent RINDT and PEVYTOE were finished with the barrel with no markings and barrel marked #4, they went back to the crime scene.

There should be six barrels there, not five. Was there a mistake did Reimer make a mistake when counting a single burn barrel and count two of them on 8th?

The Janda burn barrel #4 produces a red cut-off shirt after Ertl supposedly looked it over.

Burn barrel without markings, which one would that be? Possibly the sixth one Reimer brought in the last on 8th. In it is a burnt cloth and a suspected non-human bone. This would fit nicely with this last burn barrel being from the Radandt deer camp. It’s worth noting that this barrel hasn’t been searched by Eartl yet.

These two burn barrels will reportedly be sent back to the crime scene, Avery property.

(p. 248) 11/12/05

On Saturday,11/12/05, I (Deputy RICK RIEMER, Unit #832, of the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT) in the company of myself, assisted Special Agent ROD PEVYTOE and Special Agent RON EBBEN in processing items #642,#643,#644 and#645. It should be noted that in processing ltem #643, a 55-gallon burn barrel with miscellaneous items inside, they did find various bone fragments.

At 1038 hours, the first piece of bone was located in the burn pile from Item #643, bum barrel #2. The collection of burnt bone pieces and possible tissue pieces was turned over to me.

These barrels just keep on giving, the third search is the charm. First by Ertl and only on the second search which included Pevyote did they find suspected human bones. In the burn barrel #2, which turned out to actually contain human bones in the end.

And the barrels finally get actual log numbers this day.

(p. 280) 12/01/05

On 12/01/05 at approximately 17.38 hrs., I (Inv. WIEGERT of the CALUMET CO. SHERIFF,s DEPT.) received a phone call from TOM FASSBENDER, Special Agent, from the DEpT. OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. TOM told me that the WI STATE CRIME LAB had analyzed, the parts of, what was believed to be, a cell phone and a camera, which were taken from a burn barrel from the AVERY’S AUTO SALVAGE yard.

The very same day Wiegert goes searching for boxes of Teresa’s electronics and Ryan gives him the PowerShot’s box, he doesn’t find the Motorola box that day.

They also seem to lump all the barrels into one group here, a “burn barrel from the Avery’s auto salvage yard”. Doesn’t matter if it was Janda’s or SA’s or even the unidentified one.

(p. 402)

On 12/19/05, I (Deputy JEREMY HAWKINS of the CALUMET County SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT) was requested by Inv. WIEGERT to locate the following items for transport to the WI STATE CRIME LAB in Madison by Deputy RICK RIEMER of the CALUMET COI-INTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. With the help of Deputy RIEMER, the following items were loaded onto an enclosed trailer:

  • Three 55-gallon barrels with miscellaneous items inside, bearing Property Tag Nos. 642, 643 and 644
  • A 50-gallon burning barrel that was one-half full of material, bearing Property Tag No. 7102, and two other metal barrels with burnt material, bearing Property Tag Nos. 7921 and 7922.

We’re back at six barrels, though two of them were supposed to be returned to the crime scene. Barrels 642, 643 and 644 are Janda burn barrels #1, #2 and #3 respectively. Burn barrel 7102 is the “cell phone barrel”. And I’m guessing barrels 7921 and 7922 are Janda barrel #4 and the unidentified barrel six which weren’t returned to the crime scene after all.

They get these barrels back the next day and place them back into evidence. And they’re still searching the barrels themselves not using what they supposedly already found in them. Which seems more than odd. This is the 4th search they went through at the CRIME LAB. The only thing this little trip seemed to achieved was that WI STATE CRIME LAB took the RAV4 plates from a box. The rest was all returned within a day. Opportunity to plant something during the drive/one day window?

(p. 745) 04/19/06

on 04/19/06, I (Inv. MARK WIEGERT of the CALUMET couNTY SHERIFF’SDEPARTMENT) received a faxed copy of a report from the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION herein referred to as FBI. It should be noted we had previously packaged and sent several items, which were discovered in a burn barrel on the property of a trailer, which had been occupied by STEVEN AVERY, to the FBI LAB in Quantico, VA. The following will be a brief synopsis of the repoft, which was provided to me by the FBI.

Specimens that were recovered were labeled under the FBI code. Q3 was labeled as Canon, {310 PowerShot Digital Camera. Q4 was a Motorola RAZR cellular telephone. Q5 was a compact flash memory card. Q6 was a compact flash memory card. Q7 was a compact flash memory card. Q8 was a compact flash memory card. Q9 was a compact flash memory card and Q10 was a Palm Zire31 PDA.


The specimens were too heavily damaged to recover any data; however, photographs of the specimens were taken. The report indicates it was not possible to ascertain the manufacturer of any of the flash memory cards; however, the cellular telephone was identified as a Motorola RAZR and the PDA was identified as a Palm Zire 31 model.

In short the contents of SA’s burn barrel were reported to be electronic pieces of RAZR V3 and PowerShot digital camera. They are referred to have originated from “a burn barrel on the property of the trailer” nothing specific. This really is quite sloppy. But we can safely assume it’s from the burn barrel Baldwin was guarding with her life.

Only now half a year later is anything recovered from the burn barrels reported to have been photographed. I hope this wasn’t the case…

(p. 888) 04/10/06

On 04/10/06, I (Deputy JEREMY HAWKINS of the CALUMET CoUNTy SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT) released the following items to Deputy RICK RIEMER of the CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. The following items are:

  • Property Tag#643, a 55 gallon barrel with miscellaneous items inside
  • Property Tag#642, a 55 gallon barrel with miscellaneous items inside
  • Property Tag #644, a 55 gallon barrel with miscellaneous items inside
  • Property Tag#7102, a 50 gallon burn barrel, one-quarter full of material
  • Property Tag #7921, a metal barrel with burnt material
  • Property Tag #7922, a metal barrel with burnt material; the barrel has the number 4 on it

These barrels supposedly still contain miscellaneous items inside them… What’s strange is that they didn’t even seem to process them again in the sifting process. On 04/10/06 and 04/11/06 they supposedly sift through everything collected during the investigation, burn pit and other locations. Half a year after the crime they decide to do that. Like said they didn’t seem to process the burn barrels here.

(p. 988) 10/23/06

Releasing Items for Transport to the WI State Crime Lab andReleasing Items for Transport to Dr. Leslie Eisenberg at the Dane County Coroner’s Office

I also released the following items to Inv. WIEGERT to be transported to LESLIE EISENBERG at the DANE COUNTY CORONER’S OFFICE:

  • Property Tag #8314, contents of barrel #2
  • Property Tag #8315, contents of barrel #1
  • Property Tag #8317, contents of barrel #3
  • Property Tag#8319, contents of barrel #4
  • Property Tag #9597, plastic bag containing items described as cranial pieces
  • Property Tag #9598, plastic bag containing items described as cranial pieces

Finally they stopped sending around the hole barrels, I wonder what Eisenberg would say if she got 6 barrels in front of her door instead of a box.

What surprises me is that they don’t send anything from SA’s barrel to Eisenberg, only from Janda barrels (we later found out #2 supposedly contained human bones). These are contents gathered by Ertl almost a year ago that are finally sent to Eisenberg. Half a year after she received the first batch.

/#9573 makes a very late appearance here and was only entered once in the entire document under “questioned debris” and I got nothing for #9598. If someone can find out where they found these cranial parts, that’d be great. Because they are important pieces of evidence, not explained in the slightest from what I see.

Jeremy Hawkins then retrieves everything Eisenberg was ever sent on 12/11/06 including the listed barrel contents.

TL/DR: if you thought burn barrels made little sense before, they make even less sense now.

Here is the TL;DR version of it:

TL/DR-ish: They collected only Janda barrels at first, then collected SA’s one the next day. They accidentally sent one Janda barrel back after they processed it. Kratz demanded they bring it back, when they retrieve that one Janda barrel another barrel comes with it. It’s never explained and the total number of barrels in evidence should be six.

They seemed to be sending all barrels back and forth a lot for almost half a year. All that despite the fact that Ertl seemingly processed everything they later used in hist first two days. The only evidence they used were electronic parts Ertl collected in SA’s burn barrel and contents of barrel #2 (human bone) he collected on the 11/8/05. Human bone from Janda barrel #2 was sent to Eisenberg almost a year (10/23/06) after Ertl collected it.

The evidence logs are quite bad, and you need to fill in the blanks as to which barrel they’re referring to at times. While on one occasion they even forget to list evidence they should have entered that day and it still magically appears later.

Edit: To make the TL/DR even less TL/RD-ish, one important thing to add is that they kept on finding things in the barrels even after they were supposedly searched and presumably emptied already. Peyote and crew for example found “various bone fragments” in one of the Janda barrels (#2, log number 643) on their second search (third search over-all if we include Ertl’s search). And these bones are never explained (not even given a log number). In the end we’re simply lead to believe Ertl somehow unknowingly (it wasn’t in the report) collected a human bone on his very fist search, which apparently didn’t cover all the barrel contents.


So basically, more and more “evidence” was being found in the burn barrels each time they were searched. Just like the rest of the investigation which took them a few searches to find the infamous key and bullets… how is this ok?

Nothing makes sense in this case. I think every piece of evidence against Steven Avery has been found to have flaws and oddities associated with them. Most of the evidence is tainted and questionable. Unreal.




Burn Barrels
Burn Barrels

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