EC County homicide suspect in custody

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June 22 – EAU CLAIRE – The suspect in last week’s homicide in Eau Claire County has been taken into custody, authorities say.

Philip R. Novak, 36, was arrested without incident Tuesday night in Phillips, Price County, Eau Claire Sheriff’s Lt. Dustin Walters said Wednesday.

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the community for all of the information and advice that led to Novak’s arrest,” Walters said. “We would also like to thank the officers of the Phillips Police Department for their determination to apprehend Novak.”

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Authorities said Tuesday that Novak had been identified as the suspect and is believed to have fled the area. Authorities believed Novak was in northern Wisconsin or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Authorities identified the homicide victim on Tuesday as Eddie L. Banks, 46, of Eau Claire.

Banks’ death appears to be a gunshot wound, authorities said.

“While the prime suspect is in custody, the sheriff’s office is still pursuing a number of leads and has additional interviews to conduct,” Walters said.

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Banks’ body was found in a ditch last week along a rural road in Eau Claire County and an investigation into the death has been opened.

Walters said Monday the incident was being investigated as a homicide.

Authorities have said since the discovery of Banks’ body that there is no reason to believe the general public is at risk.

According to the sheriff’s office:

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A passerby contacted authorities at 11:03 a.m. on Thursday, June 16 about a body seen in the ditch on the E11000 block of Mallard Road in the town of Clear Creek.

Information and evidence gathered by the sheriff’s office led investigators to believe the person’s death was a targeted and isolated incident.

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