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Many questions remain in Monona death

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An investigation is ongoing into an officer-involved death that took place in Monona over the weekend, according to a Tuesday, June 30 press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations.

The DCI has assumed full investigative authority over the death, and Monona police were not at liberty to disclose any new information, a police spokesperson said in a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

Early in the morning on Saturday, June 27, Monona officers “spotted a vehicle connected to violent crimes in Madison,” according to the DCI release. The release does not specify what crimes. As reported by local news stations WKOW27 and Channel3000, the DCI gave the following account from the Monona police officers involved in the incident:

“The car sped by police and crashed into trees shortly after. The driver ran away and was not found. Monday night, a body was found in a nearby lagoon in the 500 block of River Place Drive. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per department policy.”

An updated release Tuesday said personal effects in the car matched the identity of the person whose body was found in the lagoon.

The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol and DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services are all assisting in the investigation, according to the news release. In an email, Gillian Drummond, the communications director for the Office of the Attorney General declined to provide any information on the investigation outside of their press release.

All of the involved law enforcement parties in the investigation are cooperating with state investigators, according to the DCI press release.

Many unanswered questions remain regarding the events that took place between the early hours of Saturday morning and Monday when the body was discovered in a “nearby lagoon,” on the 500 block of River Place Drive, not far from the intersection of Broadway and the US 18 Beltline Highway.

Neither state nor local investigators have not released information regarding the following.

  • The legal name, age, or any other information on the deceased;
  • Who owned the vehicle;
  • What crime the vehicle was connected to, who made that connection, and how;
  • Where exactly the vehicle crashed;
  • The manor and severity of the crash;
  • How far away the body was found from the crash site;
  • Where officers searched for the driver, and for how long;
  • Why it took between Saturday and Monday to find the body;
  • The exact cause and time of death
  • Whether or not the body discovered was a person reported missing;
  • Whether or not next of kin were contacted by police;
  • Whether or not officers engaged the vehicle in a traffic stop Saturday;
  • Whether or not officers made contact with the driver at any point;
  • What happened to the vehicle following the crash;
  • Whether or not officers attempted to take anyone into custody;

Rob Miller of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Public Affairs Office – the state department overseeing the Patrol – was not aware of the press release when Madison365 first called him. In an email shortly after, Miller deferred to DCI for further information.

This is a developing story.