This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Amos Mortier and his husky-mix dog Gnosis would never be caught in public without each other.
The two shared a sacred bond and were best friends. Even his mother could attest to this. She cited the example of a local bank in their Fitchburg, Wisconsin community allowing Amos to bring Gnosis in with him.
So, it was apparent something had happened to the pair when the two hadn’t been seen for days by friends and family.
On November 8, 2004, Fitchburg was seasonably cold. It was even more chilling for Margie Milutinovich, Amos’s mother, who hadn’t heard from her son in days.
A few months earlier, Amos had moved out of his mother’s home and into a house not far away, planning to attend school at Madison Area Technical College.
Margie was worried, and so were Amos’s friends. Eventually, the friends resorted to breaking into his home. Neither Amos nor Gnosis were in the house.
But Gnosis’s food bowl was full of fresh dog food, and it looked like Amos had been in the process of putting up pictures in his home. On a computer desk, there was a check from Amos’s grandmother intended to assist him to pay for his college tuition.
Margie recalls the crime scene being disorganized and people allowed to walk in and out of the house, some even using the bathroom. She felt the police didn’t take Amos’s case seriously.
Police did release cadaver dogs to search the area for Amos and Gnosis, but nothing was discovered. There were even records indicating that Amos’s phone pinged a few days after his disappearance.
Margie believes that the Fitchburg Police Department failed to thoroughly investigate her son’s case because he was involved in selling marijuana at the time.
A few days after the disappearance, one of Amos’ friends found the beloved dog. He had been at a neighbor’s house, and he seemed to be okay and well-groomed, but there was still no sign of Amos.
“When we found Gnosis, we were all excited and jubilant, but then boom, we were all afraid because something bad had to happen to Amos,” Margie said.
He would never have left his dog.
Amos was 27 years old when he went missing. He was around 5 feet 5 inches, 130 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Amos had a scar on his forehead and had been wearing brown framed glasses around the time of his disappearance.
“Amos is an old soul,” his mother said of her son who would prefer to churn butter with a crank than buy it from the store. “He’s really earthy like that,” she said.
Amos was also very environmentally aware and loved to be outside. He was also a music fan and had a profound vinyl collection. Margie joked that when she had movers move his things to her condo after his disappearance, they said they had moved DJs with fewer vinyl records than Amos.
He was interested in using renewable energy sources when possible and would look forward every year to the energy fair that came to town. He also loved hiking, which he was doing the weekend before he went missing.
Margie Milutinovich has worked endlessly to find out what happened to her son. She’ll continue that work, she says.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Amos Mortier, please call the Fitchburg Police Department at (608) 270-4300.
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