Portage Co. law enforcement nabs one suspect in triple homicide

By Brandi Makuski

Numerous Portage Co. law enforcement agencies were in Amherst Wednesday night searching for suspects in a triple homicide that occurred last week.

Portage Co. Sheriff Mike Lukas said deputies were acting on a tip that came in at about 6 p.m. when 44-year-old Khamthanet Rattanasack, of Wausau, was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. following a traffic stop near Christy and Wilson streets in Amherst on July 28.

Rattanasack is one of two suspects identified by Lacrosse Co. authorities in a July 23 triple homicide. Following the traffic stop, Rattanasack exited the vehicle and fled on foot, triggering a high-risk search of the area. He was found a short time later inside a residence.

The second suspect was identified as 33-year-old Nya Thao, of Holmen. Thao was arrested early Thursday morning in Wausau by a team comprised of La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin DCI, the U.S. Marshall’s Service, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wausau Police Department.

SWAT team and armored vehicles were sent to the scene, just south of Amherst Family Foods. An ambulance crew was also asked to respond to the area but was ultimately not needed, Lukas said.

Khamthanet Rattanasack (left) and Nya Thao. (Courtesy Lacrosse Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Rattanasack and Thao were identified by Lacrosse Co. authorities earlier this week as being the primary suspects in the murder of three victims; Peng Lor and Nemo Yang, both 24, and 23-year-old Trevor Maloney. The three men were found shot to death at a quarry owned by Milestone Minerals in the Town of Hamilton. 

According to information released by the Lacrosse Co. Sheriff’s Office, the three murder victims were staying at an Onalaska hotel about 10 miles southwest of the crime scene in the days before they were killed.

Lukas said no one was injured during the pursuit and arrest. Rattanasack was turned over to the Lacrosse Co. Sheriff’s Office. 

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Portage Co. Ambulance, Stevens Point Police Department, Plover Police Department, and the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office.

The Lacrosse Co. Sheriff’s Office plans to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon to release additional details.