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Kenosha Police Cold Case Vault: The Murder Of Ralph Ambrose Gianoli

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Ralph Ambrose Gianoli (48) of Kenosha
(KPD Case File)

***In the United States, less than 50% of homicides are solved. In Kenosha County however, The sole rate is much higher. As far as cases that have gone cold, the percentage is close to zero – but not zero. In August of 2023, KCE approached the Kenosha Department and Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and asked to profile some cold cases that can still be solved. Kenosha Police and The Kenosha Sheriff’s Department. quickly agreed to give KCE limited information on some solvable cases and we met with the assigned detectives. We will profile five cases over the next five weeks per department. Thank you to Kenosha Police and Sheriff for their efforts.***

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5310 25th Ave Kenosha – 1977
(KPD Crime Scene Photo)

On September 8, 1977 a 48-year-old man named Ralph Ambrose Gianoli was found dead by a friend, Joseph J Jendrzewski, 43, and he told a cab driver who took him there to call 9-1-1. Gianoli, in his home, was found badly beaten, nude, and strangled. The electrical cord was still around his neck when police arrived, that afternoon. The same friend has last seen Gianoli two days before at a tavern in uptown. They had a few drinks and talked, parting ways at 6:15 p.m. on September 6, 1977.

There was blood in his bedroom, two broken beer bottles and even more blood, where he lie deceased on in his living room, just inside the front door. Blood also coated the outside of the front door to the home. Police believed he may have died on the 6th 7th, or 8th of September. Then-Deputy Police Chief Joseph Trotta told the news that Gianoli had other injuries, suggesting a struggle. Gianoli’s brother, Lewis F. Gianoli, was the Sheriff of Marathon County.

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Overhead View of Gianoli’s Neighborhood in 1975
(Kenosha County Mapping)
5310 25th Ave Kenosha 2023
(Cell Phone Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Overhead View of Gianoli’s Neighborhood in 2022
(Kenosha County Mapping)

The house in which Gianoli made his tragic exit from this world and the neighborhood appear very similar, some 46 years later. American Motors could be seen from his backyard back in 1977.

As recently as 2021, family of Gianoli have spoken to Kenosha Police to inquire as to the investigation and share information.

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Some clues:

On the evening of September 6, 1977, a neighbor reported hearing a car door slam and leave the area quickly.

Gianoli worked at American Motors in Department 821.

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In November of 1967, Gianoli lost his wallet at “Wipolt’s Bamboo Room.”

Gianoli’s car was stolen in September of 1970.

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“Together as Brothers” by Brother Michael Mandernach CSPX With Richard Berendes and Rose Peterson (2014)
(Cell Phone Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Gianoli was featured in a book called “Together as Brothers” by Brother Michael Mandernach CSPX with Richard Berendes and Rose Peterson. It highlights men of the Catholic Faith in La Crosse, WI, where Gianoli was from. KPD have a copy of the book in their investigative file.

From The Book
Kenosha Police Detective Tim Cepress

Kenosha Police Detective Tim Cepress is assigned to this cold case. He realizes that involved people may have since passed, but urges anyone who may know anything about this case to call him at 262-605-5215. It is important to him to get some type of closure for the families surviving kin. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact the Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262-656-7333.

KCE thanks Chief Patton, Deputy Chief Labatore, Inspector Sagedal, and Captain Beller for allowing KCE to meet with the detectives to get information out to the public.


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27 Responses

  1. You’re the best journalist in Kenosha, Kev, but you need an editor.

    Keep up the good work and keep getting better.

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    1. I love reading comments like this one. So Rich. This is my part time job and I provide it for free to people like you who chose to read it. Would you like to volunteer to edit? Do you know how hard it is to not make any mistakes? I’m a college drop-out, not a scholar. My skills are investigative, not grammar or spelling. It’s free, don’t demand shit when you’re getting things for free. Unless, of course you want to volunteer, then keep your comment to yourself.

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      1. I would love to be your proofreader — spelling mistakes are easy to fix —- your sentence/paragraph structure is excellent . What I would love more is someone buyout the Kenosha Fishwrapper & make you editor-in chief .

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        1. If we had a proofreader we’d have to wait before it hits the KCE page. I’d rather have it hot off the press with a few grammatical errors we can look past.

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            1. All the greats gots proofreaders —- u shud do it David Mau—- he shoots you a copy , you send it back in 15 minutes blammo done

      2. I wasn’t trying to be an ass. I’m a legit fan. I definitely wasn’t intending to sound like I was making demands! Sorry.

        I’m sure someone would be willing to volunteer their services. Many people appreciate the work you do.

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        1. If not being stalked or not being fired from your job = cowardice, f yeah then I’m a coward . I creeped you on the Interwebs , you are old and do not work for a large corporation or government – u ain’t got nothn to lose , good for you . The rest of us in this pathetic woke environment have to watch out back—- I’m on zero social media except here

      3. Editor and proof reader is what you need. I’ll gladly volunteer to proof your articles. At least then your spelling and sentence structure would be better. 😁

        1. I don’t think he needs an editor , just a quick proofreader—- all the greats at the big newspapers had proofreaders

  2. Sad. Sure the cops knew who did it and couldn’t find enough evidence to bring charges. If not we aren’t going to find the killer with this info.
    RIP Ralph.

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  3. Hopefully there will be a break in the case and closure for the family.

    On another note…..Wonder what the taxes were on that property in 1977 and now in 2024?
    As noted….after 46 years things look the same…other than “The Motors” is long gone.

      1. I’m not sure but I don’t think Kenosha got it till the late 80’s. I was a kid and I remember learning about it

  4. This is a great series and public service you are doing. I hope there is closure for these families

  5. Former priest, working at AMC. Frequented bars, found naked and beaten to death, probably some gay stuff and he was a mark.

  6. To the Tim Taddy post, putting a name to these posts does nothing and benefits no one. It does however keep opinions hidden and out of the dialog . We need more posts not less. 👍Kevin.

  7. Gaylord Gomez said he killed two people but we only know one. Probably not, but who knows?
    This post is just the cops trying to put pressure on the guy they already have in their sights. Probably the friend. Why are there no details on where he was that night but mentions of a lost wallet and stolen car ten years prior and the friend’s full name? I’d guess it was an AMC coworker that was also on the DL.

    Quit being cute detectives. Release some information. This man deserves better.

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