La Crosse County triple homicide suspects arrested
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - Two suspects in a triple homicide investigation are taken into custody.
The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year-old Khamthaneth Rattanasack and 33-year-old Nya Thao have been arrested for Friday’s shootings of 24-year-olds Peng Lor and Nemo Yang and 23-year-old Trevor Maloney, who were found dead at Romskog Quarry, which is owned by Milestone Materials, on County Highway M in the Town of Hamilton Friday at 4:57 a.m.
Rattanasack was found at a home in Amherst, located in east of Stevens Point, and taken in by the Portage County Sheriff’s Office at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday after attempting to flee from police during a traffic stop. Thao was located at a home in Wausau at 1:45 a.m. Thursday and brought in by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshall’s Service, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wausau Police Department. Both are being held in the La Crosse County Jail, each charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime, which each carry a life sentence in prison if convicted, as well as one charge of possession of a firearm by a felon as a party to a crime.
On Thursday, Sheriff Jeff Wolf of the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office said the effort to arrest the two suspects was a statewide effort, citing multiple state and county agencies for their roles in bringing the two suspects in. The first tip in the case came when a woman approached law enforcement claiming to have spent time with the homicide victims before the shootings. The woman said she was staying in the same room as the victims at a hotel in Onalaska the night of the shootings, and helped to identify the suspects as a witness to the crime.
During the investigation, authorities said that at least one handgun was used in the murders. Autopsies conducted on the three victims confirmed each man died of multiple gunshot wounds, and 10 shell casings were recovered from the crime scene. On Sunday, officials said that the victims likely knew the person or people who killed them, and were killed at the site that their bodies were located. The three murder victims had been staying at a hotel in Onalaska, located about 10 miles southwest of the crime scene, in the days leading up to the shootings.
A man who knew the victims and one of the suspects told investigators that the dispute was over about $600 that one of the suspects believed was owed to him by one of the victims. Law enforcement used information from cell phones and social media to locate the suspects.
Investigators said that the homicides occurred at about 2:15 a.m. Friday, less than three hours before that two employees of Milestone Materials discovered the bodies of the victims. According to investigators, all three victims were observed on surveillance cameras in the La Crosse area on Thursday, the day before the homicides. Officials added that no employees of Milestone Materials are connected with the killings.
Also investigating along with the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office are the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the La Crosse District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshall’s Service, and the La Crosse Medical Examiner’s Office. The Sheriff’s Department said several county agencies were also lending assistance in locating where the victims had been in the days leading up to the homicides, as well as in the apprehension of both suspects.
The investigation is ongoing, according to the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office.
Both suspects appear in court for their initial appearance on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
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