Murder charges expected today
Community assured of its safety
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - At a brief news conference Tuesday morning, officials shared little new information about the weekend murder of Trish Waschbisch, except to assure a shocked and apprehensive community that they have a suspect in custody and people are safe.
Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve, flanked by Peshtigo City Police Chief Kent Kline, addresses questions about the weekend murder of Patricia “Trish” Waschbisch from the media Tuesday at the Marinette County Law Enforcement Center.
A somber Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve introduced those officials who would later speak about the stabbing death of Waschbisch, who was well-known in the community for her work with domestic abuse victims.
"Once again, a very a sad day in our county," Sauve said, offering his condolences to Waschbisch's family before sharing the limited information.
Sauve said a criminal complaint is being prepared, and more information about the events leading to Waschbisch's death in Peshtigo will be available in that complaint.
He said it was "tragically ironic that just one week ago today, in this very room she was given a proclamation for her tireless efforts on behalf of victims of domestic violence."
Waschbisch, 45, was the interim director and a legal advocate at The Rainbow House, a shelter and advocacy agency for victims of domestic abuse.
Peshtigo Police Chief Kent Kline also offered his sympathy to Waschbisch's family, friends and co-workers before saying that a criminal complaint would likely be sent to the Marinette County District Attorney's office today.
Kline said he is working with other law enforcement agencies to put together a homicide charge against Brent L. Kaempf, 48, Waschbisch's boyfriend, whom Kline said was taken into custody and is being held in Milwaukee County.
Kaempf was apprehended around 2:30 a.m. Monday by an officer of the Wauwatosa Police Department, who had received the alert from the Marinette County Sheriff's Department about Kaempf and discovered him and his vehicle.
Marinette County Coroner George Smith attended the autopsy performed Monday at St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay, and confirmed Tuesday that Waschbisch died from stab wounds.
Pete Thelen, Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, said officers from that unit's Milwaukee office conducted the interview with Kaempf. The Peshtigo man cooperated with authorities and was placed into custody after the interview.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the Waschbisch family and friends," said Kent Hoffmann, Marinette County assistant district attorney. "The investigation into this matter is ongoing, we expect that a criminal complaint will be filed tomorrow."
He said Kaempf was likely to appear in court Thursday or Friday.
"I'd like to thank all the police agencies who have been involved in investigating this matter and who continue to investigate this matter," he said.
Sauve said that Waschbisch's murder hit close to home.
"(She was) very dedicated, relentless in her pursuit of support for victims of domestic violence. It's especially difficult for us - we worked with her closely - and for all of law enforcement in this county, the DA's office, right to the judicial, because she was certainly good at what she did and passionate about it."
District Attorney Allen Brey said there were still many questions to be answered and a lot of investigation left to do.
But he stressed the importance of letting people know they were safe.
"The public needs to understand that we feel there is no immediate danger to them or any members of the public. We don't have a situation that they should be concerned there are one or more individuals in the community who are out to harm other individuals," Brey said.
"This was a terrible tragedy, but not the kind of situation they had in Boston a couple of weeks ago."