An autopsy was being performed this morning on a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student whose body was found in a shallow grave in the town of Emmet Saturday afternoon and the Dodge County Sheriff's Department has confirmed the suicide Friday night of Travis Zoellick, who was implicated in the student's death.
Two other people, Tammy L. Lafave, 21, of Delafield, and Zachary S. Zaborek, 19, of Watertown, are in custody and are expected to be charged later today in the death of Haroon Khan.
Lafave is facing a charge of party to the crime of first-degree homicide and kidnapping. She is expected to be in Dodge County Circuit Court Tuesday.
Zaborek is being held on aiding a felon. He is expected to be in court later today.
“Information has led us to believe (the body) is the missing student from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Haroon Khan,” according to Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls. Kahn was reported missing Wednesday from Milwaukee.
The sheriff's department is investigating the alleged homicide that occurred on or about Wednesday in Dodge County.
The investigation began Friday when two teenagers came to the Watertown Police Department at about 3:30 p.m. to report information they received from a friend. “The two Watertown teenagers, one an 18-year-old male from Watertown and another 17-year-old girl also from Watertown, walked into the Watertown Police Department late Friday afternoon,” Nehls said. “They shared with Watertown investigators that they believed a friend of theirs may have killed someone,” he added.
The two reported the possible location of a Mitsubishi Evolution and the belief that Khan was buried near the Affordable Storage sheds in the town of Emmet.
“That friend was Travis Zoellick of Watertown,” Nehls said.
Throughout Friday night and Saturday, investigators executed several search warrants within the city of Watertown and the town of Emmet, north of Watertown.
“It culminated at about 11:30 p.m. Friday when Zoellick took his own life,” the sheriff said.
Members of the Watertown Police Department and the Milwaukee Police Department were conducting surveillance of the Zoellick residence at 126 Oak Ridge Court when Zoellick walked outside, according to Watertown police Chief Tim Roets.
An arrest warrant for Zoellick had been issued through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Upon observing the police officers, Zoellick fled back into the residence and into an upstairs bedroom where he shot himself in the head with a handgun.
Zoellick was on probation for battery.
A family member was present in the apartment at the time, along with Zoellick's girlfriend who witnessed the incident, Roets said.
“At that point, we took custody and interviewed a female friend at the scene,” the sheriff said. Another male subject from Watertown was also identified and taken into custody on aiding a felon.
“We do have two suspects in custody who are cooperating with us,” Nehls said. “We have had a liaison here from both the Milwaukee Police Department and the UW-Milwaukee Police Department and are aiding in the investigation,” he said. Charges are expected to be filed late this morning or this afternoon, the sheriff said.
Zoellick was transported to Watertown Regional Medical Center and transferred by helicopter to UW Hospitals in Madison where he died at about 5 a.m. Saturday.
The Watertown Police Department, with the assistance of the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, conducted the death investigation.
Zoellick's parents own about 20 acres of land and the storage units in the town of Emmet where Khan's body was uncovered. The county recovered three vehicles and a skid loader which will be processed for evidence.
Authorities also have Khan's vehicle which was in a ministorage unit at the site.
The 31-year-old Khan was attending school full-time at UW-Milwaukee and owned a gas station in Wauwatosa.
On the day Khan disappeared, his parents were celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at their Mequon home when Khan told family members around 6 p.m. that he had to return to his apartment on Oakland Avenue in Milwaukee to meet someone who wanted to buy his vehicle, a 2006 Mitsubishi. Khan told family members he would return later that night.
When Khan did not return two or three hours later, a cousin went to his apartment and found the door open and Khan's wallet still there.
Police were contacted and did not find any signs of a struggle at the apartment.
Nehls said a member of the Khan family had been with the police all day on Saturday. A $25,000 reward had been offered by Khan's family for information about his whereabouts.
Khan's family released a statement mourning his apparent death and thanking investigators who searched for him, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“The family and friends of Haroon Khan mourn his very tragic death,” it said. “Haroon was a lively, kind and considerate young man who was loved by all who knew him. His murder has been very difficult on his large but very close-knit family.”