Homicide Investigation Still a Long Way from Complete - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Homicide Investigation Still a Long Way from Complete

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – In the wake of Wednesday's arrest in connection with the homicides of Paul and AJ Petras, police are emphasizing that the investigation is still in its infancy.

"We still have a lot of work to do before we can bring this case before the courts," said La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer.  

Jeffry Lepsch was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Winona County in connection with the crimes.

Captain Jason Melby, the director of La Crosse's Investigative Services Bureau, added that police are still working around the clock with evidence recovered at the crime scene.

Paul and his son, AJ, were shot and killed inside their family store, May's Photo, in September.

"The Wisconsin State Crime Lab processed that scene for 18 hours, and they're still processing evidence recovered that day," Melby said. "They're still looking for forensic evidence."

Melby also said police have still not recovered the cell phones of AJ and Paul, which were not found at the scene.

Nor have they recovered the murder weapon, which the Chief said is believed to be a .22 caliber gun.

Melby said Police are also working to build a stronger case against the suspect.

"We still have to do more background work on our suspect to make sure the District Attorney's office can follow through on this arrest with a successful prosecution," Melby said. "We need to develop more of a history on this individual."

"We're also still missing some camera equipment that was identified as stolen, so we need to track that down as well," Melby said.

Police said at a press conference Thursday that roughly $16-thousand in camera equipment was missing from the store.

Tischer said Police are now also faced with the task of sifting through possible evidence recovered at the suspect's home in Dakota, Minn.

"There was hundreds of pieces of evidence recovered from the home," Tischer said, "so that's going to take quite a while to determine whether what we recovered from the home relates to the case."

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