Janesville man claims he killed three people, but did he really?

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MADISON (WITI/AP) — Police in Janesville have discovered a woman's body near a Rock River bridge, and are investigating whether a man arrested in an apartment stabbing is responsible.

Officers searched the area around the bridge early Monday morning and discovered the body behind a former furniture store. Authorities haven't released her name.

Police said in a statement Monday that officers were called to an apartment on Sunday evening, May 4th to investigate reports of a stabbing. They discovered a 28-year-old man had suffered a near fatal stab wound.

They caught another 28-year-old man as he tried to flee from the scene. That man apparently said he had killed three people earlier that night and had told others he was going to drink and do drugs with a woman under a bridge. 

That's what prompted police to check the area surrounding the bridge -- where they found the woman's body.

"We learned that he had been down by the river, by the memorial bridge earlier in the evening with a female. We were searching that area of the river and ultimately found the body that was alongside the river. It was based on Clayton's claim that he had killed other people and then tracking where he was earlier in the evening that took us to that body," Janesville Police Chief David Moore said.

NBC15 in Madison talked with the man who was nearly stabbed to death on Sunday evening. He says the suspect in the case is Clayton Courtney -- his best friend. 

Courtney apparently lived with the stabbing victim, Michael Clark, Clark's girlfriend and their two young children up until Sunday evening.

"We went to be around 9:30, 10:00 and we just kept hearing banging noises. The kitchen torn apart, cabinet doors pulled off -- blood everywhere. He tried to stab me in the chest. I turned and he got me in my tendon at one of my arteries," Clark said.

Clark says he was stabbed about five times with a steak knife from his own kitchen by his best friend.

Courtesy Janesville Gazette

Courtesy Janesville Gazette

"When he came in, he was just full of mud. He kept saying that he killed three people and he was going to kill me," Clark said.

Janesville police released a picture of Courtney (left) shortly after he was arrested. It was handed out to and published in two newspapers including the Janesville Gazette.

Clark says he screamed for his girlfriend to call 911 -- and says even though he was stabbed five times, he kept trying to fight back. 

Clark says his girlfriend is currently pregnant, and they have two daughters, ages four and six -- who were sleeping in the apartment at the time.

"He was talking about cutting the baby out because she was going to get him arrested. That's when I really, like, I didn't care if I hurt him or not," Clark said.

Clark says he's been friends with Courtney for 15 years -- and let him move in when he needed some help.

He says he never expected what happened on Sunday evening.

"I let him move back in for a month of two -- just to help pay the bills and to help him out. Maybe he was just high or drunk or what -- but that was not Clayton who came home last night," Clark said.

Clark says Courtney regularly uses crack cocaine -- and says he hopes Courtney gets the help he needs.

"He definitely needs help," Clark said.

Janesville police are urging anyone who knows about Courtney's whereabouts in the past 72 hours to give them a call.

"We are taking Mr. Courtney at his word. And if he claims there are two other potential victims, it's our responsibility to search for them," Chief Moore said.

Janesville police are currently investigating a case involving a 75-year-old missing woman. The woman went missing on Saturday, May 3rd -- and police say they do not believe the body found near the Rock River bridge on Monday belongs to this missing woman.

Police do say that they recovered items belonging to the missing woman near the river bank -- and they are not ruling out a connection to Courtney at this time.

Clayton Courtney is currently being held in the Rock County Jail.

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