BLUE MOUNDS (WKOW) - A friend of Blue Mounds homicide victim Nicholas Day says he's baffled the 26-year old man's life ended violently.
"It doesn't make sense for someone like this to have his life taken away," Mike Straubhaar of Blue Mounds says.
Straubhaar says he knew Day since Day and Straubhaar's son attended Mount Horeb High School and ran cross country together. He says Day served in the Navy and then returned to Dane County.
Dane County Sheriff's officials originally said Day was running on County Highway JG in the Town of Blue Mounds Wednesday and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. But on Thursday, authorities revised their view of what happened after an autopsy revealed Day died of homicidal violence. The county's medical examiner does not specify the type of killing.
Straubhaar says Day worked on his farm in recent months but tried to refuse pay. "I had to put money in his pocket," Straubhaar says. "Didn't want nothing."
Straubhaar says Day was the single dad of a 3-year-old girl, who accompanied her father to Straubhaar's farm at times. Straubhaar says Day also did highway work. "He was willing to do whatever it takes to take care of his daughter," Straubhaar says. "I think that was his most forward, front thing to do in his life. I can't think enough of this kid."
Authorities say there were witnesses to Day's run prior to the discovery of his body near the road in the 31-hundred block of County Highway JG.
One homeowner in that sparsely-populated block says that stretch is part of a popular running and walking loop in the Mount Horeb area, but says he was not home on Wednesday when officers responded to the incident.
Less than a mile from the body's discovery at Stewart Lake County Park, a lone, unmarked Sheriff's vehicle remained parked for some time Friday.
Straubhaar says his children missed work and canceled plans to cope with their grief over Day's death. Straubhaar says he's been thinking often of Day's little girl running gleefully over a field tarp on his property, and climbing on farm equipment. "It just breaks my heart to see this little girl's without a great dad."