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Somerset death linked to heart disorder

Sara Boettcher (Courtesy of The Statesman, Kewaskum, Wis.)

Autopsy results indicate the death of an 18-year-old UW-River Falls student found unresponsive in a bathtub at a Somerset home early Sept. 14 was likely the result of a pre-existing heart condition.

Sarah M. Boettcher, a freshman from Kewaskum, was discovered, unconscious in the upstairs bathroom of a home at 461 Marlon’s Court at about 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 14. She’d spent the night there as a guest.

Resuscitation efforts were begun immediately by police, Somerset First Responders and a paramedic from Lakeview Medical Center, but she was later pronounced dead at the scene by a St. Croix County Medical Examiner.

Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs said he learned last Thursday morning that the autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office “indicated probable cardiac arthymia” caused Boettcher’s death.

Toxicology test results did not show any sign of alcohol or drugs in her system, Briggs said.

Briggs said the investigating officer learned Boettcher had earlier told another person in the house that she was feeling ill and asked to take a bath as that sometimes helped her feel better. Subsequent interviews with her family indicated there were some relatives with heart issues as well.

Briggs said his department’s investigation is now closed and all reports will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review as a matter of routine.

Boettcher was a 2013 graduate of Kewaskum High School where she was active in band, choir, musicals and theatre. She also participated in tennis and soccer. She had declared a major of elementary education and had moved into a UW-RF residence hall two weeks earlier.

She is survived by her parents, two brothers and other relatives, including an aunt who lives at Hudson.

Steve Dzubay

Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer from 1995-2016. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.