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Menomonie woman arrested in connection with death of estranged husband

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A 26-year-old Menomonie woman has been arrested for homicide in connection with the death of her estranged husband.

According to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, Paige M. Valla was arrested Wednesday, November 11, and taken into custody on charges of first-degree reckless homicide and delivery of narcotics in connection with the death of Bryan J. Heitkamp, 27, of the Town of Red Cedar.

At 6:09 p.m. the previous Saturday, November 7, Dunn County Communications received a report of a man in the Town of Red Cedar who was unresponsive and not breathing as the result of a possible drug overdose.

Dunn County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the scene and started CPR until the Menomonie Fire Department arrived.

At that point, Heitkamp’s pulse could be detected, and he was airlifted by Mayo helicopter to an Eau Claire hospital, according to the news release.

Heitkamp died early Sunday morning, November 8, and preliminary autopsy results listed a prescription drug overdose as the likely cause of his death.

An investigation by the Menomonie Police Department, the Dunn County medical examiner, the West Central Drug Task Force, and Dunn County deputies determined that the prescription drugs in Heitkamp’s system “were illegally provided to the victim by his estranged wife, Paige M. Valla of Menomonie,” according to the news release.

According to news reports, Valla appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court for a bail hearing on Thursday, November 12, and bond was set at $2,500.

Valla is scheduled for another court appearance in January.

According to online court records, a criminal complaint had not yet been filed as of Friday, November 13.

Heitkamp was a 2007 graduate of Menomonie High School and graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College where he studied small engines, according to his obituary.