UPDATE: Coroner: Milton police Lt. John Conger found dead

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Gazette staff
Monday, October 21, 2013

JANESVILLE—A body found on Janesville's north side Sunday night was that of Milton police Lt. John Conger, who died in an apparent suicide, authorities said Monday.

Conger, 43, was a 21-year veteran of the Milton Police Department. He had been the department's administrative lieutenant since 2009.

He was found in a trail area about one mile north of the intersection of Kennedy Road and Highway 14 just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. State authorities are investigating the death along with Janesville police.

Conger died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the release said.

"John is going to be dearly missed by all of us at the Milton Police Department," Milton police Chief Dan Layber said in the statement. "He was a dedicated officer who was committed to the Milton community, spearheading many of the police department's outreach and educational activities.

"His absence will be felt deeply by all who knew him."

A jogger called police at 5:25 p.m. Sunday after finding an unresponsive person on the walking path, according to a news release from the Rock County Coroner's Office.

Sixteen Janesville police officers and detectives were at the scene, according to the department's call log, and a fire department spokesman said firefighters responded, as well.

Police later called in the state Division of Criminal Investigation and began a joint investigation, Janesville Lt. Terry Sheridan said.

Officers blocked off nearly a mile of Kennedy Road from Highway 14 to Terapin Trail on Sunday. A Gazette reporter said the scene was clear as of Monday afternoon.

“People were here well after midnight,” Sheridan said of his co-workers at the police department.

An autopsy was conducted Monday morning at the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said.

Conger recently spearheaded an anti-bullying campaign in the Milton School District and pushed a youth program that rewards students who wear bicycle helmets while riding.

After a rash of youth heroin overdoses at a park in Milton in 2009 and a Milton-area boy's fatal prescription medication overdose in 2010, Conger helped organize a countywide drug drop-off box network for unwanted prescription drugs.

He also pushed state legislation to tightly regulate traveling sales crews after he witnessed a horrific Interstate accident in 1999 near Milton in which 14 magazine salespeople were thrown from a delivery van and seven were killed.

More details will be released as they become available.

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