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Sheriff's office: Prominent lawyer's death appears accidental

Polk County authorities said preliminary indications are that a prominent western Wisconsin lawyer’s death was accidental.

Owen Williams, a former St. Croix County district attorney and practicing lawyer who worked around western Wisconsin, died Monday at his home.

“It’s just a tremendous loss,” said Williams’ law partner, Nick Davis.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Steve Smith said the death appears to be carbon-monoxide related. Williams was found in his bed with his car running in an attached garage at his Amery-area home.

“At this point, it appears to be accidental,” Smith said.

People have since come forward to authorities to report that Williams had apparently experienced difficulty hearing his car running in recent weeks, Smith said. He said it appeared the 77-year-old had pulled his car in the garage on Monday morning and left it idling.

Others had noticed Williams leaving his car running outside other residences and his own law office in recent weeks, Smith said.

Polk County court officials alerted Williams’ law office, Smith said, after he failed to show up for court Monday morning. A friend went to the home and found him dead.

Williams served as district attorney in St. Croix County from 1972 to 1976. He was the founding partner at Amery-based Williams & Davis law firm.

A wake will be held 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Williamson Funeral Home in Amery. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Amery.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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