PESHTIGO - A Peshtigo woman who dedicated her life to protecting victims of domestic violence is dead and authorities say the person of interest in her death is her boyfriend.
Police say 45-year-old Patricia Waschbisch was found dead shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday at her home on the 500 block of Thompson Street.
The State Department of Justice says Brent Kaempf, 48, was taken into custody overnight for questioning.
Police aren't saying much, except Waschbisch and Kaempf were in a relationship. They have not said what may have led to Waschbisch's death.
Those who worked with Waschbisch in the domestic violence community say there will be a lot to mourn.
"Patricia commonly went by Trish, the name Trish," said Patti Seger in a phone interview with FOX 11. "She was a very dedicated advocate."
Patti Seger is the executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Seger says she has known Trish Waschbisch for at least ten years through her work at Rainbow House, a domestic violence shelter and advocacy group in Marinette. Waschbisch was the shelter's interim director.
"She has an incredible knowledge of the legal system, generally, but especially of the legal system in Marinette County and in neighboring Oconto County," explained Seger.
"It was really her role to understand the impact of certain laws, the laws that were designed to protect victims and to help victims."
So much so, Waschbisch spoke to FOX 11 last September about restraining orders and whether they are effective in preventing possible incidents of domestic violence.
"There's the kind of person who jail is not a threat to them," Waschbisch said then to FOX 11's Kelly Schlicht. "The restraining order to them is nothing more than a piece of paper and in some cases it won't do a lot."
On Thompson Street, neighbors say they are shocked.
"I mean, this is really tragic, especially in this neighborhood and the family that lived there," said Bruce Wells, who lives four doors down from Waschbisch's home.
Police say Sunday evening, Peshtigo officials discovered Waschbisch's body in her home after a 911 call. The Department of Criminal Investigation and Department of Justice were called in to help local police with the investigation.
"This type of thing can happen everywhere," said Peshtigo Police Chief Kent Kline early Monday morning to FOX 11. "People always say I never thought it could happen in my neighborhood. It's one of those things that we learn as we go. It's not something that I deal with every day, I'm kind of happy to say that, and I hope that I don't have to deal with it again in my career."
An autopsy was scheduled for today. The results have not yet been released.
Authorities say they will release more information about the case Tuesday morning during a news conference.
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