Police Chief Eads dies in apparent suicide

Scott Eads in a 2007 Star Eagle file photo.


 Few details have been released regarding the death of New Richland Police Chief Scott Eads, who reportedly took his own life Monday evening in rural Freeborn County.

“With deep sorrow, I’m announcing the passing of my boss,” wrote NR Patrolman Ryan Gehrke in a Tuesday press release. “Scott leaves behind his wife and two young children. I’m asking everyone to keep in their thoughts and prayers the Eads family and friends, the citizens of New Richland, the New Richland Police Dept., and all law enforcement as this death will have an impact on us all. Thank you and God bless.”

Eads, originally from Mountain Lake, Minn., was hired in New Richland Oct. 1, 2000 as a patrolman. He was promoted to chief Aug. 17, 2007 when Brad Flor retired.

Eads did not show up for work Monday, according to NR Assistant City Clerk Sara Jo Vulcan. He was on the agenda for Monday night’s city council meeting but did not show.

The news shocked and saddened the community of New Richland, where Eads was well liked and will be missed.

“He was a wonderful person to work with,” said Vulcan. “He’s going to be missed in the community, that’s for sure. I think the biggest comment I get from people is that he was always there offering to help.”

Eads was featured as the Star Eagle’s “Neighbor” in May 2007, when his children were age 3 and 7 months.

According to the Albert Lea Tribune, the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Dept. received a call at 5:47 p.m. Monday from the Waseca County Sheriff’s Office seeking assistance in locating Eads. Minnesota State Patrol also helped in finding Eads, who was found just outside of the city of Freeborn. Medical examiners were involved and the investigation continues, but law enforcement has no reason to believe the manner of death was anything other than suicide.

A press release issued by the Waseca County Sheriff’s office Tuesday stated:

"It is with heavy heart that we share news that Chief Scott Eads of the New Richland Police Department took his own life on the evening of Sept. 12.

"Chief Eads leaves behind a wife, Candace and two young children. Sheriff Milbrath has been in contact with the New Richland city administrator, and the Sheriff's Office will be handling all calls and police matters for the city of New Richland until further notice.

"Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers while they work through this difficult period. Chief Eads was a part of our Law Enforcement family here in Waseca County, so obviously this is shocking news for all involved. If you have any questions or information, please feel free to contact Sheriff Milbrath anytime."

The investigation is being handled by the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Kurt Freitag told the Star Eagle Tuesday afternoon that he’s just as shocked and saddened by the news as anyone. There was nothing that would even remotely suggest Eads would do such a thing. He was not under any investigation nor was he suspected of any wrongdoing.

“He was a pretty stand-up guy,” said Freitag.

St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New Richland was open Tuesday for prayer and meditation.
New Richland's City Hall and a patrol car were decorated in blue lights Tuesday night, and people gathered in the parking lot to talk, hug and pray. Some people left flowers on the squad car's hood. Someone left a wooden cross with Eads' badge number.
On Wednesday, locals were tying blue ribbons on trees in town in memory and honor of Eads, and residents displayed blue porch lights that night. The squad car remained decorated at City Hall and people continued to drop off flowers.
Visitation is set for Friday, Sept. 16 from 4-7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Richland. The funeral is Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at NRHEG High School in New Richland.

Scott Eads was 40.