The Lafayette County District Attorney’s office has completed its review of the death of Aaron Saalsaa, which occurred on March 31, and will not be issuing charges against Daniel Saalsaa, said a press release from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the press release, a review of all of the facts and circumstances as determined by the investigation by the city of Monroe Police Department, and autopsy findings from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, does not establish a basis to issue criminal charges against Daniel Saalsaa relating to the death of his brother.
The press release described the events of what happened in the early morning hours of March 31: Aaron and Daniel Saalsaa, two brothers, were involved in a physical altercation while intoxicated. At approximately 2:49 a.m., Aaron Saalsaa called his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Hayley Saalsaa.
After speaking to Aaron, Robert and Hayley drove to 100 North Broad Street in Argyle, arriving shortly after 3 a.m. While Robert was attempting to stop the altercation, Aaron fell, causing Daniel and Robert to also fall and land on him. Then at 3:16 a.m., a 911 call was placed.
Argyle EMS was on scene and tending to Aaron Saalsaa when the first Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived at 3:27 a.m. Shortly thereafter, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the city of Monroe Police Department in investigating the incident due to the working relationship between the sheriff’s office and the village of Argyle Police Chief Saalsaa.
According to the press release, autopsy results indicate “the absence of neuroradiographic and gross neuropathologic contusive type injuries to the brain.” The pathologist concluded, “The autopsy findings disclose diffuse bleeding within the head, not definitively attributable to a traumatic process. No significant facial or scalp impact trauma is identified that could account for the pattern of hemorrhage. Correlation with neuroradiographic studies also excludes presence of direct brain trauma. The pattern of bleeding in absence of a traumatic genesis is suggestive of a spontaneous hemorrhage similar to that occurring from a cerebral aneurysm.”
The autopsy report describes a lack of any physical evidence connecting the altercation between Daniel and Aaron Saalsaa with Aaron’s death. Aaron had no facial or head injuries; the cause of the brain hemorrhage is unknown.
The only potential criminal charges relating to the death are first degree intentional homicide and first or second degree reckless homicide. The facts do not establish any grounds for a charge of intentional homicide as there is no evidence that Daniel Saalsaa intended to cause the death of his brother during the altercation, said the press release.
Reckless homicide requires that a person cause the death of another by creating an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm and is aware of the risk. First degree reckless homicide also requires utter disregard for human life.
According to the press release, there is no basis to conclude that the conduct of Daniel Saalsaa constituted either first or second degree reckless homicide.
“The death of Aaron Saalsaa was certainly tragic. However, there is no factual, scientific, or legal basis to conclude that his death was the result of any criminal act,” said the press release. “Therefore, no criminal charges will be issued.”