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Hero Down: Rice County Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Hunt Dies At Music Festival

Cadott, WI – Rice County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) Sergeant Justin Hunt died in his sleep while attending a music festival on June 23.

The 40-year-old deputy’s wife found his body inside his camper at the Country Fest event near Cadott, the Chippewa County Coroner’s Office told The Chippewa Herald.

Investigators said foul play is not suspected.

The coroner’s office concluded Sgt. Hunt died in his sleep from unknown natural causes, the Leader-Telegram reported.

Autopsy results are pending.

Sgt. Hunt initially served as a correctional officer in both Rice County and Douglas County and later became a part-time Lonsdale police officer before joining the Faribault Police Department as a full-time officer, Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn told the Leader-Telegram.

Sgt. Hunt was hired by the RCSO in 2017 and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2018.

“Justin had the energy and eagerness to serve,” Sheriff Dun told the paper, breaking down into tears. “You need to have a passion and drive to want to make a difference in your community and he had exactly that. He served Rice County greatly.”

Sheriff Dunn and Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force Commander Paul LaRoche drove to Minneapolis in the fallen sergeant’s patrol car to bring his body back home, the Leader-Telegram reported.

“We took Justin’s squad car to bring him home to Faribault,” the sheriff told the paper. “When we got to the county line, I couldn’t tell you how many squad cars, fire trucks, ambulances and other rescue vehicles were waiting for us. I couldn’t count them all.”

Sgt. Hunt leaves behind his wife, Maggie, and his daughters, Lauren and Kaitlyn, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his father, siblings, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and many friends.

“There is a hole in their world, and no one will ever fill it,” Sheriff Dunn told the Leader-Telegram, “but we are going to do our best.”

Sgt. Hunt was laid to rest on June 30.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Rice County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Justin Hunt, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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