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Police Chief Found Dead in Campground, an Apparent Suicide


April 24, 2002
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Police Chief Found Dead in Campground, an Apparent Suicide

WASHBURN, Wis. (Associated Press) - The police chief of this far northern Wisconsin community was found dead at a campground Tuesday evening, an apparent suicide, authorities said.

Bayfield County Sheriff Robert Follis said Chief John Augsburger was found at the Long Lake campground about six miles east of Washburn shortly after 5 p.m.

Augsburger had contacted the Bayfield County communications dispatcher and told the officer on duty that he was going to kill himself, the sheriff said.

Follis said Augsburger was off-duty at the time and had driven to the lake in his own vehicle and with his personal weapon.

Augsburger left a note, Follis said, but he did not know the contents.

"I don't know what precipitated this," he said. "I left for a meeting at four o'clock and I was flagged down by one of the city police."

Follis said the department was investigating the death, but it appeared to be a suicide and no foul play was suspected.

Follis said the death followed a meeting with city officials.

"Only they can tell you what transpired there," he said.

Washburn Mayor Walt Hovey declined to speak about what happened at the meeting but said Augsburger had not been fired, nor was his job in jeopardy.

In January 2001, Augsburger was cleared in a hearing by the Washburn City Council following a citizen allegation of conspiracy, harassment and intimidation.

Augsburger and a police sergeant were exonerated following a seven-hour closed session in which City Attorney John Anderson said the council found no "credible evidence" in the allegations.

Hovey said the city would issue a news release on Wednesday.




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