Augusta Man Charged with Murder in Kathryn Padilla's Death

WEAU 13 News, Wisconsin/November 26, 2008

A man accused of beating a woman who later died is now charged with felony murder.

49-year-old Jeffrey Rodrick from Augusta faces felony murder charges in Eau Claire County Court. He had been charged earlier with substantial battery in connection with Kathryn Padilla's death.

Investigators say she died last month from complications of being beat up. The Augusta woman was known for leading a small religious group called the "Rest of Jesus Ministry" which investigators say Rodrick belonged to. Court records show he moved in with Padilla.

When investigators spoke to Padilla in the hospital, she told them Rodrick attacked her several times by shoving his fingers down her throat and hitting her with small drawers from a table. Investigators say when they went to arrest Rodrick he struggled with them and was chanting religious sayings. He's being held on a $100,000 cash bond.


The Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department says it's investigating a homicide after the death of an Augusta woman known for leading a small religious group.

Right now, the department will only say it is investigating Kathryn Padilla's death after she was beaten Saturday, October 12.

Padilla died Wednesday at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire.

Undersheriff John Vogler says Padilla said she was beaten by 49-year-old Jeffrey Rodrick of Seminole, Florida. It happened at her home on County Road V.

Investigators say Rodrick was a member of Padilla's religious group. He faces a felony charge of substantial battery and two other misdemeanors.

Padilla is known for starting the "Rest of Jesus Ministry."

In 2002, she was charged with stalking and disorderly conduct for sending threatening letters to funeral homes. The charges were later dismissed.

In an interview with WEAU 13 News in February of 2002, Padilla said she and her faith were misunderstood.

"We are about the word. However, how the Lord decides to phrase something to go into someone's heart is up to him. We just follow through with it and send the word out," Padilla told us.

An autopsy was performed Thursday. The district attorney's office is reviewing the case to determine if there will be any additional charges.

The sheriff's department is not releasing any more information at this time.

Press release from the Sheriff's Department:

The Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of an Augusta woman. On October 12, 2008 deputies were called to Sacred Heart Hospital in regard to a battery occurring at S8285 County Road V, Augusta, WI. The victim, Kathryn Padilla, 62, of S8285 County Road V reported being battered by an associate, Jeffrey Rodrick, 49, of Seminole, Florida during an altercation at her home earlier that evening. Rodrick was arrested, initially charged with Aggravated Battery and later transferred to a local hospital.

On October 22, 2008 the Sheriff's Office was informed Padilla had died at Luther Hospital. An autopsy was performed at the Ramsey County, Minnesota, Medical Examiner's Office on October 23. Results of the autopsy are pending. Available reports have been submitted to the Office of the District Attorney for consideration of additional charges.

No further information is available pending the autopsy findings and decision of the District Attorney.

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