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Stabbing Spree Suspect Allegedly Insisted He Was Looking for Friend’s Lost Phone in River Before Group Attacked Him

Nicolae Miu

Nicolae Miu

A man has been formally charged with stabbing a 17-year-old boy to death in a violent confrontation on a Wisconsin river.

Nicolae Miu, 52, a visiting Minnesota resident, faces a criminal complaint for one count of first-degree intentional homicide, and four counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Sheriff’s deputies in St. Croix, Wisconsin, has said he attacked a group on the Apple River, while everyone was out tubing. He killed a 17-year-old boy and wounded four young adults, officials have said.

Family identified the slain victim as Isaac Schuman, a rising senior at Stillwater High School.

“Isaac entered every room with a big smile, infectiously positive aura, and lifted everyone around him up,” they said in a statement reported by KARE’s Heidi Wigdahl. “He had an incredibly bright future ahead of him and we are all heartbroken and devastated beyond words that his future has been tragically and senselessly cut short. We very much appreciate the overwhelming outpouring of love and support from our friends, Isaac’s friends and the Stillwater Community. We also respectfully ask the media to honor our request for privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

Deputies only identified the survivors by their age and city:

  • male, 20, from Luck, Wisconsin
  • male, 22, from Luck, Wisconsin
  • female, 24, from Burnsville, Minnesota
  • male, 22, from Elk River, Minnesota

In the criminal complaint, deputies said one surviving victim had a slash wound to his abdomen, exposing internal organs from inside his body; another had a stab wound to his lower left abdomen; a third had a laceration on his stomach and puncture wound to his upper left torso; and the fourth had a stab wound to the upper left side abdomen.

Schuman, who went unnamed in documents, was pronounced dead at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Miu was from a different group of water tubers than the young people.

According to the complaint, deputies said they heard conflicting stories about who started the fatal confrontation, though they ultimately blamed Miu.

For his part, the 52-year-old defendant insisted to authorities he was acting in self-defense. He claimed he left his and his wife’s group after one of their friends lost a phone in the water. With goggles and a snorkel, he searched the river, according to his version of the story. Believing another group had found something, he approached them to ask if it was the device, he allegedly said.

Miu, however, said the group inexplicably turned on him. He claimed to face accusations of being a “child molester” and pedophile.

A witness described him as looking through them. The person said the older man’s behavior was “disgusting” and “looking really weird and sketchily,” authorities said. Miu allegedly attacked first, punching a young woman in the face.

In video captured by a witness, Miu — shirtless and carrying goggles with a snorkel — ran up to the witness’ group and grabbed onto the tubes they had with them, according to the complaint. They allegedly told him to “get away.”

“The group of juveniles were yelling for help from other individuals floating down the river nearby,” documents said, citing witness and victim statements that Miu was bothering the young group. “Witness[es] stated that a group of people came and stood in between Nicolae and the group of juveniles and told him to leave. Witness statements indicated that Nicolae was being spoke to in a half moon shape with a route of egress from the confrontation. Witnesses described Nicolae as punching or slapping a female that was in the group confronting him, Nicolae was then punched by a male and fell into the river. Witness’s then described Nicolae begun stabbing multiple individuals who were near him. Witness statement described the knife used as an approximate three-inch silver blade, with a silver clip, handle, and folding.”

Questioned by investigators, Miu’s wife allegedly said he had a knife on him. For his part, the 52-year-old defendant said that he did have one on him earlier but used it for cutting the string holding the river tubes together. He allegedly believed he left the knife in his vehicle or “gave it to one of the people.”

Miu allegedly said that he did not remember stabbing anyone but said he had grabbed a knife from one of his attackers.

From the complaint:

Nic said that when the group started hitting him and two of the individuals pointed a smaller knife at him, “I thought that was it for me”. Nic said, “Luckily, I took it from one of the young kids”. I asked Nic what he did with the knife, and he said, “I don’t even know”. I asked Nic if the knife made contact with someone, and he said he didn’t remember. Nic said that the group of people was “so close” to him. Nic told me that one kid had the smaller knife in his hand, so Nic said he grabbed the individual’s arm, twisted it, and “I poked him with his own hand”. Nic said he then took the knife from the individual who’d been in possession of it, and then started swinging it. Nic told me he was swinging the knife all around him because, “I wanted out.”

The suspect’s wife, who told investigators she did not witness the confrontation, said her husband told her a different story, according to documents.

She “stated Nicolae had a knife in his pocket, wasn’t very big, and stated that Nicolae told her ‘Those guys grabbed it from him,'” documents said. “[The wife] stated Nicolae told her that they swung the knife at him and that he grabbed it and moved it away.”

From the complaint:

Nic said he didn’t know what happened and asked if I could tell him. I told Nic that four individuals sustained injuries and one person died. Nic said, “Oh no” and asked if the individuals sustained injuries because they were fighting with each other, and I said I didn’t know. Nic then put his head in his hands and said, “Oh my god”. Nic said his whole life was “down the tubes”. Nic said he was sorry for how this ended up.

A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 12. The judge told Miu in his first appearance hearing that he is not eligible for a public defender but can apply for a court-appointed attorney.

[Booking photo via St. Croix County Jail]

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