MARINETTE - Marinette County law enforcement officials called the press conference Tuesday, regarding Trish Waschbisch's murder – of which her boyfriend is a person of interest – ironic.
"Our sincere condolences to Trish Waschbisch's family," said Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve. "And how tragically ironic it is that, just one week ago, today, in this very room, she was given a proclamation."
One week ago, to the day, Waschbisch, along with Sauve and District Attorney Allen Brey received awards for their work with the Wisconsin Victim Information and Notification Everyday system, or VINE, and its implementation in Marinette County.
Waschbisch had dedicated her professional life to helping those affected by domestic violence; she worked as the interim director of Rainbow House, a domestic violence shelter and advocacy group in Marinette.
Now, in the very same room where the three received their awards, Brey and Sauve gave little new information about their colleague's murder.
"This is just a terrible tragedy," said Brey.
They did say her boyfriend, Brent Kaempf, is a person of interest in the case. However, Brey wouldn't go so far to say Kaempf is under arrest.
"There's a fine line there," said Brey in response to the question. "It's fair to say he's in custody and he's not getting out any time soon."
At the news conference, State Department of Criminal Investigation officials assisting the Peshtigo Police Department said Kaempf, 48, was taken into custody after being questioned Monday morning. Kaempf was found in Wauwatosa as a result of a search following the death of Waschbisch, 45.
"It was conducted by our DCI office out of the Milwaukee office, he did cooperate and was placed into custody after the interview," said Special Agent in Charge Pete Thelen of the DCI.
Police say Waschbisch, 45, was found dead shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday at her Peshtigo home on the 500 block of Thompson Street.
Tuesday, Marinette County Coroner George Smith said preliminary autopsy findings show she "died of sharp-force injuries." She was stabbed to death.
Investigators were tight-lipped during the Tuesday news conference, not saying what may have led to Waschbisch's death, or what weapon or weapons may have been collected; only telling members of the media that more details about Waschbisch's death would be available when formal charges are filed and that a charge of homicide is expected.
Previous Case Together
According to court records, Kaempf and Waschbisch started a relationship in 2005 – and also lived together for several years.
In 2010, Kaempf was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, after allegedly hitting Waschbisch in the face. According to the criminal complaint, the alleged assault happened in a home they were sharing.
The case was dismissed by prosecutors as part of a deferred prosecution agreement. That usually means the charges are dropped, if the suspect stays out of trouble for a certain period of time.
When asked about the couple's previous legal history together, Brey wouldn't discuss the matter.
"You all know how to use CCAP and find its information and you certainly may," said Brey, referring to Wisconsin's online system, allowing the public to search circuit court case records. "But it's just not prudent for us to make any comments about that history at this time."
Police say they expect their reports with the district attorney's office as early as Wednesday. That's when they also hope to transport Kaempf to Marinette. He could appear in court Thursday or Friday.
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