Oshkosh police arrest last Northwoods homicide suspect; Lussier now in Winnebago Co. JailSubmitted: 02/19/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Oshkosh police arrest last Northwoods homicide suspect; Lussier now in Winnebago Co. Jail
OSHKOSH - On Sunday night, police in Oshkosh ended what became a statewide search for a Northwoods homicide suspect.

The Oshkosh Police Department arrested 19-year-old James Lussier, the last of the five men accused of killing Wayne Valliere Jr. near Mercer and hiding his body. Earlier this month, Lussier tried to turn himself in, but was let go on an officer's error in Vilas County.

In a press release, the Oshkosh Police Department said it made the arrest at about 7:30 p.m. Lussier is currently in the Winnebago County Jail.

Oshkosh police spokeswoman Kate Mann said she didn't know why Lussier was in the city.

The arrest puts all five murder suspects in jail nearly two months after the 25-year-old Valliere disappeared from Lac du Flambeau. Richard Allen, Joseph Lussier, Curtis Wolfe, and Evan Oungst were already in custody.

Newswatch 12 visited the area where Oungst showed Valliere's abandoned body to Lac du Flambeau Police Chief Bob Brandenburg, as detailed in the criminal complaint. Valliere's body was left behind a berm near Swamp Creek Road in the town of Mercer in a remote part of Iron County. Accessing Swamp Creek Road requires a drive of almost seven miles on an unpaved road. There are no houses on the entire path to the site.

Brandenburg found Valliere's body on New Year's Day with eight bullet holes. On Feb. 7, the state Department of Justice charged the five suspects with homicide and hiding a corpse. Four of the five were already in jail.

Two days later, the fifth suspect, James Lussier, tried to turn himself into Vilas County Jail. Officers jokingly told him he needed to go to Iron County, and he left.

"There's not an option," Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said Friday during an interview in Rhinelander. "If an officer is in contact with an individual that they know has a warrant, that officer is required under Wisconsin law to take them into custody."

The state Department of Justice will handle the prosecution of the five homicide suspects. Their first appearance in Iron County Court is on March 5.

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