Half-dozen or more people attacked woman in Washington Park last fall

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Nancy Lee, the older sister of Ee Lee, lights candles next to photographs of her sister at Washington Park Lagoon at 1859 N. 40th St. in Milwaukee on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, during a candlelight vigil. A crowd of about 50 wrote messages on balloons and lit candles to honor her memory. (Photo: Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

A group of a half-dozen or more people appear to have attacked and beaten a woman who was found unresponsive near a pond in Washington Park and later died last September, according to a series of recently released search warrants.

The warrants offer the first specific details in the death of Ee Lee, 36, of Milwaukee, after the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office only described it as a “fatal incident” last fall, despite Lee dying from blunt force trauma to her head and suffering other injuries associated with sexual assault.

Lee was found unconscious by the pond the evening of Sept. 16 and was taken to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries three days later. Lee had been seen about two hours before the incident walking in the park near the water, according to the sheriff’s office, the lead investigating agency.

The warrants describe how five to seven people were caught on surveillance cameras in an area of the park where a struggle with Lee took place. Other cameras recorded two groups of people totaling 11 individuals leaving from the park shortly after the assault is believed to have happened.

Lee was found by two boys, ages 16 and 15, who deputies believe may have been present during the attack, the warrants suggest. No arrests have been made, however, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

The content of the warrants was first reported by Fox6 News.

Family and friends gather at the Washington Park Lagoon at 1859 N. 40th St. in Milwaukee on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, to remember Ee Lee, 36, who died on Saturday. A crowd of about 50 wrote messages on balloons and lit candles to honor her memory. (Photo: Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

According to the warrants:

Deputies were called to the park about 9:30 p.m. Sept. 16 and found Lee on the ground, partially in the park’s pond. Underneath trees nearby, investigators found evidence of a struggle, including apparent drag marks in the leaves and dirt.

Deputies reviewed footage from nearby surveillance cameras, which showed a group of people underneath one of those trees. Lee eventually appears, running away from the tree toward the pond, with five to seven people in pursuit.

As this chase toward the pond unfolded, other members of the group appear to leave the area, between 8:21 and 8:27 p.m.

Cameras captured a group of six people, all with bikes, exiting the park near the Washington Park library. Meanwhile, another group of five, with two bikes, exited further east.

After being called to the park at 9:30 p.m., deputies spoke with the two boys who found Lee. They said they were riding bikes through the park when they heard a “cough” closer to the water and investigated.

After reviewing surveillance footage, deputies realized the bicycles and clothing of the two boys who found Lee matched that of two individuals seen leaving the park in the group of five.

On Sept. 17, deputies followed up and visited the home where they live, asking to verify the time of the 911 call. One of their mothers was then heard telling the boy to delete everything off his phone.

Contact Elliot Hughes at elliot.hughes@jrn.com or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.

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