Man in custody with possible connection to Chippewa County homic - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Man in custody with possible connection to Chippewa County homicide


Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Chippewa County Sheriff's Department has a person of interest in custody for a current homicide investigation after an incident that blocked roadways in Eau Claire early Wednesday morning.

News 18 reported Monday a man's body was found near Chippewa Falls. The sheriff's department said Kenneth J. Patterson, 31, was murdered and law enforcement are conducting a homicide investigation. Chippewa County Coroner Ronald Patten said Patterson had a single gunshot wound.

Meanwhile, an overnight police investigation closed First Ave. in downtown Eau Claire until around 5:30 Wednesday morning. The Eau Claire City and County SWAT Teams, as well as the Eau Claire Police Department's Crisis Negotiation Team were called in to resolve the situation. 

Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said 20-year-old Matthew Labrec was taken into custody for breaking his probation. Kowalczyk said Labrec was released from the Columbia Correctional Institution in February but failed to make his required appearances with the department of corrections in Chippewa County. 

Shortly after First Ave. reopened, a News 18 reporter on the scene saw law enforcement and the State Division of Criminal Investigation searching the residence at 516 First Ave. Officials were using flashlights to search the rooftop, they were going through garbage, and taking items out of the home. News 18 asked Sheriff Kowalczyk if Labrec's arrest had any connection to Patterson's homicide. 

"He along with a number of people are people of interest that we need to talk to tie up some loose ends," Kowalczyk said. "Putting the pieces of that puzzle together are painstaking. They are slow, and we are taking our time to make sure that information is obtained."

Kowalczyk said he did not know what if any evidence law enforcement was looking for at the home. Labrec was in custody at the Chippewa County Jail. 

An autopsy conducted Tuesday could reveal more information about the death of Patterson. Kowalczyk said it was not clear when final autopsy results would be released. The sheriff's department is asking anyone with information about the incident to come forward. 

Downtown Chippewa falls was also closed Tuesday because of possible gunshots fired. The Chippewa Falls Police Department said there was a possibility the incident is connected to the homicide investigation, but no new information was released Wednesday.

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