UPDATE: Clayton Courtney Arrested in the Murder of Britney Cross

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom
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Britney Cross

UPDATE: Police have arrested Clayton Courtney in connection to the murder of Britney Cross.

For several weeks, Courtney was considered by police as the only suspect in his girlfriend Britney Cross' death, but it took until today for police to arrest him. Police say DNA testing showed that the blood found on his clothing when he was arrested on another charge is hers.

Britney Cross' body was found near the Rock River early last month after she died due to blunt force trauma to her head. Police arrested Courtney today but he was already sitting in a Rock County Jail cell after he was charged with trying to stab his roommate to death the night before Cross' body was found. Investigators say they recovered a 4"-5" rock they believe Courtney used to bludgeon Cross to death.

The night Courtney was arrested, he claimed he killed three people, but so far Janesville Police cannot prove he's telling the truth.

Courtney has been arrested with first degree intentional homicide and is due in court tomorrow to be officially charged.

Janesville Police also said today they still believe the cases involving Courtney and Mary Coulthard, an elderly woman whose body was recovered in the river around the same time Cross' was, are unrelated.


UPDATE: The stabbing victim in a bizarre case out of Janesville says his roommate, the suspect in this case, had made a troubling Facebook post just two days before trying to kill him.

Michael Clark is recovering from near fatal stab wounds Janesville Police say were inflicted by Clayton Courtney.

Clark says Courtney made a chilling post on his Facebook profile two days before the stabbing attack that read "It doesn't matter who I'm, all that matters is my plan, of course getting caught is part of my plan. Calm down, now is not the time to fear that will come later."

Clark says as he recovers from his wounds he is now focusing on the family of another victim connected to Courtney.

The family of Britney Cross are continuing to mourn her loss and they are now planning to celebrate her life.

Today our sister station in Madison spent some time with Britney's family in Edgerton. They didn't want to go on camera but say they're managing to hold up with the support from the community. A sign now hangs in the entryway of their home with messages of support for Britney's mom Tracy, and her brother Tyler. Tracy says she wanted to have an open casket at her daughter's funeral but cant because of how badly Britney was beaten. They're are now opting for a celebration of life.

That event will be held on Saturday from 2-5 at a farm house off County Highway X. She says anyone is welcome to come to remember her daughter.

Meantime, Janesville Police are still searching for Mary Coultard, the 75 year old woman who was last seen Friday. Police say after backtracking her steps with Courtney's they don't believe the two crossed paths because of the timing of her disappearance despite Courtney's claims he had "killed three people". Coulthard's purse and water bottle were found on the Milwaukee Street Bridge Saturday.

Police say despite no new leads, they're not giving up and they'll continue searching for Coultard by plane and boat tomorrow along the river.


UPDATE: The man arrested Sunday night for stabbing his roommate, is now the only suspect in the the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Britney Cross' mother says her daughter was full of love. While it's too painful for her to comment on camera, she tells 23 News Cross and 28-year-old Clayton Courtney had just reconnected on Facebook after dating a year ago.

Police say Cross and Courtney were somewhere in this area near Traxler Park Sunday afternoon or early evening before she was killed. Cross's body was found early Monday morning along the Rock River by the Memorial Drive bridge.

"Mr. Courtney's statement that he had killed three people before we encountered him Sunday evening, that's our reason to believe that there could be additional victims," said Janesville Police Chief David Moore.

Mary Coulthard could be one of those victims. Police says she's been missing since Saturday. Some of her personal belongings were discovered within a half mile of where Cross's body was found.

"I don't expect her to walk in the front door," says Mary Falk, a friend of Coulthard's who lived in the same building.

Falk says it's not like Coulthard to wander off.

"Very worried, have no idea why she left, nobody knows why she went out that time of night," says Falk.

Detectives are continuing to search the water and surrounding area, looking for Coulthard.

Courtney now faces murder charges in Cross's death. Police also say he had alcohol and cocaine in his system when he was arrested Sunday. The man he stabbed that night has been released from the hospital.

Janesville police say there have been no reports of any other missing persons in the area.


Janesville Police have identified the body found yesterday near the Rock River as 21-year-old Britney Cross of Edgerton, WI.

According to the autopsy, Cross died from blunt impact to the head. She is reported to be an acquaintance or girlfriend of Clayton Courtney, the suspect in a stabbing incident that happened on Sunday, May 4th. Courtney was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a man. He also allegedly told others he killed three people prior to the attack on Sunday.

Police say the investigation has been deemed a homicide and Clayton Courtney is the lone suspect.

According to police, Cross and Courtney are believed to have been together near the Memorial Drive Bridge in the late afternoon or early evening hours on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Cross’ body was then found in the early morning hours of May 5, 2014 in the same area.

Police are still looking for information regarding this case including the whereabouts of Courtney's truck, a 1998 blue Dodge Dakota between 5/1/2014 and 5/05/2014. If you have any information or have seen anything suspicious please call the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100 or CrimeStoppers at 608-756-3636.


JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- A body is found along the river, a man is nearly stabbed to death, and an elderly woman is missing. All cases Janesville Police say could be linked to one man. The suspect arrested and charged with attempted murder allegedly told others he's killed three people prior to the attack.

"They say you never know who your neighbors are, but I've never had any reason to feel afraid," Joyce Little, who lives on Pontiac Drive in Janesville, said.

Joyce Little's neighbor's house is now a crime scene. Janesville Police say Clayton Courtney, 28, stabbed his roommate nearly to death in a home on Pontiac Drive. Courtney is now under arrest, but it's what he allegedly said while inside the home that has police searching for more clues.

"He said I've already killed three people tonight and we're all going to die," Janesville Police Chief David Moore, said.

Officers are now trying to determine if Courtney actually did kill three people.

One of those victims could be a woman found dead early Monday morning along the Rock River near the Memorial Drive Bridge. That's the same place where Courtney was allegedly drinking and doing drugs Sunday night.

"If we take Mr. Courtney at his word, there are two additional deceases persons, yes," Chief Moore said.

Police found the victim’s body as they were looking for another woman, Mary Coulthard, 75, who went missing Saturday morning. Detectives say a water bottle and other items of Coulthard's were found near the Milwaukee Street Bridge, less than half a mile from where the woman's body was found.

"I just feel bad for the family because that's a loss no one should have to take," Wayne Fisher, who lives near the stabbing scene, said.

Three cases that may be connected and have Little and neighbors in this quiet neighborhood on edge.

"It's getting to the point where you can't feel safe anywhere in this town," Fisher said.

Courtney is charged with Attempted First Degree Reckless Homicide. Police say he also tried setting a car on fire last night, so he also faces Attempted Arson and Criminal Damage charges. Police have not linked him to the other two cases, but say it's possible he was involved.

Mary Coulthard still has not been found.


UPDATE: JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- Janesville Police say the body found near the Rock River early Monday morning is that of a woman, and are investigating to see if the death is connected to Clayton Courtney, who is in custody on attempted homicide charges.

Police say Courtney said he killed three people after he was arrested in connection to a stabbing incident on Sunday. Officers are investigating to see if the body discovered near the river is connected. When Courtney was arrested, police say he was covered in mud and blood. Investigators say the mud was not consistent with the crime scene on North Pontiac Drive.

Janesville Police say that during the investigation it was believed Courtney was allegedly doing drugs earlier in the evening with a female friend near the river. That's where police found the body.

Police say if they take Courtney at his word, there could be two additional victims.

If you have any information or have seen anything suspicious we're asked to call the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100 or CrimeStoppers at 608-756-3636.

Officers say the body does not appear to be that of missing person Mary Coulthard and that it appears to be someone much younger.


JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- A man was arrested after allegedly stabbing a man and trying to set a car on fire.

Around 10 p.m. Sunday night, Janesville Police Department responded to the 1600 block of N. Pontiac Dr. for a report of a fight occurring in the residence.

When officers arrived, two men were found to have been involved in the altercation during which 28-year-old Michael Clark, was stabbed several times. Clark was transported to a local hospital for treatment of the stab wounds, one of which was described by doctors as near fatal.

32-year-old Jessica Moe, another resident of the home, and two small children who were sleeping at the time of the incident were uninjured.

The other man, 28-year-old Clayton Courtney attempted to flee on foot when police arrived. Courtney was caught after a brief foot pursuit and taken to a local hospital for a reported ankle injury.

Police say that prior to the fight, Courtney tried to set Jessica Moe's vehicle on fire while it was parked in the attached garage.

Courtney was charged with; Attempted 1st Degree Reckless Homicide, Attempted arson, Criminal Damage, and Disorderly Conduct, all related to domestic violence. He is being held at the Rock County jail pending initial court appearance.


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