Real Name: Laura D. Law
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: November 2001
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: Laura Law and her boyfriend of eleven years, Michael J. "Mike" Tlusty, enjoyed having friends over at their home in Arkdale, Wisconsin. Denise Piccioni and her husband were often guests; she was Mike's cousin and Laura's best friend. She believed that their relationship was happy. However, on March 26, 2001, Mike was angered when he found that Laura had gone to a casino with Denise and her mother. Laura claimed that he was depressed and that something was wrong with him.
That night, Mike mysteriously vanished. The only person who claimed to know what happened to him was Laura, but she would disappear too. After he vanished, she told his family that when they returned from the casino, he packed some clothes and took $73,000 in cash. He then set out on foot from their home in the middle of the night.
Denise was suspicious of Laura and believed that she was lying. However, she only thought that she was doing so because she was embarrassed of the truth. Two weeks later, Laura told Denise that Mike had called her and said that he was out west. However, four months passed without any sign of him. Since he and Laura ran their own business, few noticed that he was missing. However, by the summer, Denise convinced Laura to talk with his parents. Strangely, Laura told Denise that she planned to lie to his mother, saying that he had gone to Canada. Denise tried to talk her out of it, but she lied anyway. As a result, Denise became very suspicious of her.
At one point, Denise tried to get the snowmobiles that she had stored in Mike and Laura's shed. However, Laura seemed determined to keep anyone from going in it. Denise threatened to cut the lock off, get the snowmobiles, and have a locksmith place a new lock on the shed. Laura eventually removed the snowmobiles but refused to let anyone go in the shed. Denise soon suspected that Mike's disappearance may have been related to it.
Four months after Mike vanished, his brother, Mark, filed a missing persons report. The case was assigned to investigator Gary Silka, who went to Laura's house. She never let him in the shed, claiming that she was renting it out to someone. A few hours later, she fled the area. It would be several more months before investigators were able to get a search warrant for the shed.
On January 22, 2002, the investigators entered the shed and were hit by a foul odor. They then found a body wrapped in blankets and plastic wrapping. It was identified as Mike's; he had been dead for nine to ten months. The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the back of his head. Several years prior to his murder, Laura had purchased a 9mm handgun. It is believed that it was used to kill him. The police believe that she had a gambling problem and that he was planning to leave her. They also believe that she killed him because of it. She is now wanted for his murder.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 17, 2002 episode. It was also profiled on America's Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. Shortly after Unsolved Mysteries finished filming this segment, Laura was captured in Nashville. Based on information received from a tip, FBI investigators began questioning motel employees in the downtown area. She was identified by an employee of a motel as their late-shift desk clerk. When she arrived at work on July 16, 2002, she was arrested.
Maintaining her innocence, Laura tried to get her lawyer, Sheila Kessler, to change the venue because of pretrial publicity, but the judge rejected that notion. Kessler then changed Laura's plea on the charge of hiding a corpse to innocent by reason of mental defect while she retained the innocent plea to the charge of first-degree intentional homicide. She allegedly told a friend that Mike had tried to commit suicide. She said that they had struggled over the gun and that he was accidentally shot. In April 2003, she pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide in Mike's murder and was sentenced to twenty-four years in prison. She will not be eligible for parole until 2026.
- Laura Law on Unsolved Archive
- Disappearance of Wheeling man turns into murder case
- Help sought in solving businessman's murder
- Woman charged in shooting death
- Murder suspect on the run
- Police seek victim's girlfriend in murder case
- Police searching for girlfriend in murder of Wheeling man
- Television shows join hunt for fugitive suspected in 2001 murder
- Murder suspect caught in Tennessee
- Police and FBI arrest woman sought in boyfriend's murder
- Wisconsin suspect found at hotel job
- Woman to stand trial for man's slaying
- Judge won't move woman's trial
- Woman pleads guilty to killing boyfriend
- Ex-Wheeling resident admits killing boyfriend
- Woman sentenced for 2001 murder
- SitcomsOnline Discussion on Laura Law
- Mike Tlusty Obituary
- Mike Tlusty on Find a Grave
- Laura Law has a page on the Wisconsin Inmate Search website.