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Eau Claire County homicide suspect in custody

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Although the primary suspect is in custody, the Sheriff’s Office is still following up on a number of leads and has additional interviews to conduct,” Walters said.

Banks’ body was found in a ditch last week alongside a rural Eau Claire County road and a death investigation was launched.

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

Authorities have said since the time Banks’ body was found that there was no reason to believe the general public was in danger.

According to the Sheriff’s Office:

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

Information and evidence collected by the Sheriff’s Office led investigators to believe the person’s death was a targeted and isolated incident.

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