Winnebago man arrested for manslaughter in connection to May death

Local News

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to show that Johnathon Daniel of Winnebago is 25, not 20, as stated in the original press release from the United States Attorney’s Office.


LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – A Winnebago man has been arrested for manslaughter in connection to a May death.

According to a release from the Nebraska district of the U.S. Department of Justice, Jonathan Daniel Rooney, 25, of Winnebago, is charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of Kozee Decorah. Rooney was arrested on Monday.

According to court documents, Tribal Police contacted the FBI to investigate a possible homicide of Decorah by her boyfriend Rooney who was also the father of her children. The incident was believed to have occurred on May 16 or 17 in a remote area of the Winnebago Indian Reservation.

Documents say that Decorah called authorities on May 16 at 7:50 p.m., claiming that the vehicle she, Rooney, and their infant child was in had gotten stuck on Honey Creek Road. When authorities arrived, they found the vehicle but could not find any of the three. Officers then checked to see if Decorah had made it to her home in Walthill just after 11 p.m., but could nit finder her so authorities started a search.

Around 11:48 p.m., conservation officers found an outhouse near a cabin on fire. Authorities saw what they believed to be bones in the fire and notified the Winnebago police.

According to the documents, authorities found Rooney naked under a blanket with the infant inside the cabin. When asked if he knew where Decorah was, he said he didn’t. Rooney was then detained. Authorities said that Rooney had an injury on his right cheek, a smear of blood or bruising on his arm and scratches on his left shoulder, according to the documents.

The police later confirmed that a human skull and ribs were found in the embers of the fire. A fornsic dental consultation was able to identify the remains as that of Decorah.

The maximum punishment for manslaughter is 15 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a 3-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. A preliminary hearing and a detention hearing will be held at a date to be determined.

The Winnebago Police Department, the Nebraska State Fire Marshal, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Trending Stories