Peshtigo murder has wide impact across state, with AVAIL in Antigo|
|Michelle Arrowood, director of the AVAIL domestic shelter and advocacy group in Antigo is stunned with the death of Trish Waschbisch, who led the Rainbow House in Marinette, a service that mirrors the Antigo facility.|
Waschbisch was apparently murdered at her home in Peshtigo during the weekend.
According to the Marinette Eagle-Herald newspaper, police were called to her residence Sunday evening where they discovered her, deceased.
Waschbisch was interim director of the domestic abuse facility which serves that area of eastern Wisconsin. She has been employed at the Rainbow House for more than 12 years.
A man she had a relationship with, Brent Kaempf, 48, was identified as a “person of interest,’’ and was taken into custody on Monday.
The investigation is continuing today and at a news conference, law enforcement officials said Kaempf could be charged later this week.
The Eagle-Herald said the death will have an impact on the counseling and the domestic advocacy groups across Wisconsin — including Antigo and Langlade County.
Francine Kitowski, president of the Rainbow House board of directors, was shaken by the death and circumstances of it.
“Trish had given her life to this organization and was an exceptional leader in the fight against domestic violence,” the Marinette-Menominee newspaper reported.
In just over a decade with AVAIL, it has become glaringly apparent that domestic violence does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, education, or economic status,” Arrowood said. “Even with education and prevenative measures, it continues to be an opportunistic crime that can dramatically change the lives of families in an instant and quickly result in a homicide.”
Arrowood stressed that local shelters such as those operated by AVAIL and the Rainbow House are essential.
“If a victim can get away from their abuser, AVAIL remains committed to the fact that someone will always be there to open the door or answer the phone to help keep them safe,” she said. “We are grateful to Langlade County, the city of Antigo, and the United Way of Langlade County for ensuring that the shelter is staffed around the clock.”
AVAIL can be reached at 715-623-5767, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or even on Facebook for more information.
In Madison, Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that domestic violence vicims advocates across the state mourn Waschbach’s loss.
“Trish was a strong and dedicated advocate,” Seger said. “She had the respect of her colleagues and fellow community members. The positive impact of her life's work is beyond measure. She was tireless in her efforts to keep countless victims safe.”
Seger added that the incident is a reminder that domestic violence can affect anyone.
“We don't know any details, but sometimes people who are the leaders or helpers in their communities are the most isolated; they feel unable to come forward to get help for themselves,” Seger said. “At times like these, many ask why the victim didn't leave, but the question should be: why did the perpetrator kill someone he professed to care about?”
Victim, Trish Waschbisch and suspect, Brent Kaempf.
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