GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: This story discusses a case involving violence against a child.
The man accused of calling in threats to the family of 10-year-old Wisconsin girl Lily Peters’ suspected killer has a history of making blustery threats after too many drinks, court documents allege.
Police charged Herbert Ray Badalich, a 57-year-old from St. Paul, with making terroristic threats in connection with phone calls received on May 2 in which he allegedly claimed “he did his research, was in the area and coming for restitution” with plans “to murder the whole family,” according to the police reports. They said he was irate about Lily’s death, in which police have charged a 14-year-old who followed her home from her aunt’s house and allegedly attacked her in the woods.
Minnesota court records show Badalich has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault of a peace officer, carrying a handgun without a permit, drug charges, theft, trespassing and driving while intoxicated.
Contacted the day after the Chippewa Falls threat, Badalich allegedly told police “he had a big mouth and was an alcoholic” but also insisted that he meant to harm and was not serious.
Officers had evacuated the family from their home, except for the suspect, who is being held on $1 million bond.
Police that day and the next made contact with Badalich and determined he was in St. Paul — about a 1-hour, 10-minute drive from Chippewa Falls — and had not actually come into Wisconsin when he allegedly made the calls.
“I was able to identify the male subject’s voice to be the same voice as the original call to dispatch with the threats,” the investigating officer wrote in a report. During this call, the officer allegedly observed “slurred speech.”
“The male subject stated multiple times he was frustrated and mad at the homicide incident,” the officer continued. The suspect became upset and allegedly stated that he didn’t make the threat, “but if he did, he was sorry.”
However, the suspect allegedly threatened “repercussions” if anyone were to kick in his door and “stated he could be a vigilante.”
Chippewa Falls investigators traced Badalich’s number to St. Paul and contacted police there and discussed his extensive criminal record – which includes battery of an officer.
Lily’s 14-year-old suspected killer, identified only by his initials C.P.B. due to his age, allegedly accosted the girl on her way from her aunt’s house to her father’s on April 24, according to prosecutors. After her death, the suspect allegedly sexually assaulted her, went home, threw his clothes in the laundry and took a shower. They said he later returned to the crime scene and tried to hide the body.
“The suspect was not a stranger,” Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said during a news briefing after the arrest. “The suspect was known to the victim. We do not believe there is any danger to the community at this time.”
The juvenile suspect has been charged as an adult with intentional homicide.
Badalich is due in a Chippewa County court on Sept. 27. The charges also include misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a phone.
He did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
Court documents from Badalich’s assault on a police officer case indicate he has a history of depression and anxiety and was prescribed medication.
According to the Pioneer Press, a Twin Cities-based newspaper, the fight with officers happened after he allegedly began harassing Trump-supporting customers at a gas station on the day after his inauguration in 2017.
Officers arrived to find Badalich “smelled strongly of alcohol” and ignored their requests that he talk with them outside, according to court documents. He punched one of them in the face before they arrested him, and he later pleaded guilty.
In the ensuing brawl, he was accused of threatening to kill an officer before police subdued him with pepper spray.