Deputy Travis Watruba returns to duty after administrative leave
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
LINCOLN COUNTY – Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Watruba has returned to full duty following his involvement in a shooting earlier this year, reports Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Schneider.
Per policy, Watruba, a 13-year law enforcement veteran, had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation of the incident.
Deputies investigated a domestic battery incident at a cabin in the Town of Corning on Aug. 24. The suspect, Daniel E. Boldt, 46, originally from the Waukesha County area, had been staying the seasonal residence outside Merrill.
“Deputies learned that despite prior felony convictions for two separate cases of sexual assault to a child and another for burglary, Boldt was armed with numerous firearms,” states a news release from the Sheriff’s Office from Thursday, Oct. 10.
According to the release, deputies had set up surveillance in the area of the cabin, and Deputy Watruba saw a vehicle matching the description of Boldt’s leaving the residence. Watruba conducted a traffic stop at 5:38 p.m. on State Rd. 64 near Mill Rd. in the Town of Scott, just west of the City of Merrill.
“Once he had stopped his vehicle, Boldt emerged from his vehicle and displayed a shotgun, which then caused Deputy Watruba to use deadly force,” the release says.
Boldt was flown from the scene to the trauma center at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau and was later released into police custody. He is currently being held at the Marathon County Jail.
Lincoln County District Attorney Galen Bayne-Allison ruled the shooting a lawful use of force after an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations and the preparation of a final report.
Boldt was charged in Lincoln County court with five counts of possessing a firearm as a felon, one count of battery and one count of disorderly conduct.
“These counts encompass the gun Boldt displayed to Deputy Watruba, a handgun which was found in the vehicle after the shooting and the three other firearms found at the cabin,” the release states.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin announced on Wednesday, Oct. 9, that a federal grand jury had indicted Boldt for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow is handling the prosecution, and the indictment was the result of an investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to the release.
Boldt faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison if convicted.