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    DNA From McDonald's Cup Linked Woman To Husband's Death, Police Say

    By Pocharapon Neammanee,


    A Wisconsin woman who moved out of the state after her husband’s death in 2020 pleaded not guilty Monday to a homicide charge after evidence, including DNA from a McDonald’s cup, allegedly linked her to his fatal shooting.

    A crime lab report linked DNA found on a straw in a fast-food cup near the body of Jose Santiago to his wife, Cassandra Hult, according to court documents, which also said fingerprints on the cup appeared to be hers. Hult also allegedly made statements to a roommate in Arizona and a new boyfriend in Las Vegas that helped lead to her arrest four years later.

    Hult is in a Milwaukee jail as she faces a charge of first-degree reckless homicide with a modifier for use of a dangerous weapon in the death of Santiago, who was found on the night of March 23, 2020, with a single gunshot wound to his head, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

    Police went to St. Adalbert Cemetery that night after a jogger noticed that Santiago’s black Lincoln LS had been parked there for two days, according to a criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost. The jogger told officers she had gone up to the vehicle and discovered that an unresponsive man was inside.
    Jose Santiago is identified in a photo posted on Facebook.

    When detectives arrived, they found Santiago in the driver’s seat and a spent shell casing in the rear of the vehicle, with a bullet hole that went through the driver’s head rest, according to the complaint. Two McDonald’s cups containing orange juice were also found in the sedan.

    A McDonald’s receipt near the body showed a purchase made the day before, according to the complaint.

    Detective Jake Puschnig of the Milwaukee Police Department testified in court on Monday that forensic testing on the McDonald’s cups indicated fingerprints and DNA were linked to Hult and her husband, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    Detectives interviewed Hult the day after they found Santiago’s body, according to the complaint. Hult allegedly told officers that she and Santiago had been married for about a year and half but were “on and off recently.”

    Hult allegedly told detectives that she’d gotten into an argument with Santiago in the car after she found messages between him and another woman, according to the complaint. The detectives reported that she told them the argument ended when Santiago “became violent” with her and pushed her out the car.

    Hult said she was then driven to her grandmother’s house by a friend, according to the complaint, and denied going to McDonald’s with Santiago that day.

    However, Hult’s cellphone data indicted she was near St. Adalbert Cemetery and the McDonald’s on the day police believe Santiago was killed, the complaint said.

    Police said Hult, in later interviews, gave “inconsistent accounts of where she was and what she was doing,” according to the complaint.

    Hult eventually left the state for Buckeye, Arizona, where she moved in with a woman and her daughter for a brief period, the complaint says.

    In September 2021, Arizona police interviewed the woman Hult had lived with, according to the complaint. The woman reportedly told officers that she kicked Hult out after living with her for about a month.

    The Arizona woman reportedly told police that she and Hult continued to argue over FaceTime and that Hult “threatened to kill her” during a call, according to the complaint. She reportedly told police that Hult confessed she “had killed her husband in Milwaukee.”

    Hult then met a man in Las Vegas in January 2022, and they became romantically involved and settled down in Sacramento, California, according to the complaint.

    Detectives reported that they interviewed Hult’s new romantic partner in May 2022 and that the man claimed she had confessed multiple times to killing Santiago, according to the complaint. The man reportedly told detectives that Hult provided details about the killing.

    Hult, who was arrested in May, is set to return for a court conference on July 10.

    The Wisconsin State Public Defenders Office, which appears to be providing her defense, did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for a comment.

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