A 25-year-old man suspected of abducting 5-year-old Alayna Ertl from her Watkins home and then leaving her body in a swampy area is now charged. Zachary Anderson, of Coon Rapids, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and theft of a motor vehicle. He made his first court appearance that morning, where bail was set at $2 million without conditions, according to a news release.
Alayna’s body was found Saturday afternoon in a “swampy wooded area” in rural Cass County, a few hundred yards from a cabin Anderson’s family owns. Anderson was also arrested on the property without incident, according to the charges.
A medical examiner ruled Alayna died from strangulation, and there was evidence of blunt force trauma to her head, as well as evidence of sexual assault. Anderson’s next court date is set for Oct. 10. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison for the murder and kidnapping charges, while the criminal sexual conduct charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
On Tuesday 8/23/26 morning at 4:30 am Bismar Castellon of Melrose reported hitting a deer on Co Rd 98 near 281st Ave. Castellon was not injured but the 2008 Pontiac Torrent he was driving sustained front end damage.
St. Cloud Public Library will be closed at least until mid-September as it recovers from a fire caused by one of its patrons. A 47-year-old man was arrested after he set a book alight in the library on Aug. 17, with the blaze spreading and damaging furniture and a window on the second floor. Jorge Ozorina has since been charged with first-degree arson, and was ordered to be held in custody after a court appearance on Friday, with bail set at $100,000.The fire was started in a reading alcove situated on the second floor, which is home to about 106,000 books valued at around $2.1 million, the Great River Regional Library service said in a news release. Each of these volumes will have to be checked to see if they are smoke damaged, along with around 70 computers also on the floor. The St. Cloud Times reports that the suspect set fire to a 688-page volume of “Ancient Civilizations: The Illustrated Guide to Belief, Mythology and Art,” edited by Greg Woolf.Nobody was hurt in the fire, but it forced the evacuation of 250 people.
The library due dates and holds have been extended till at least Sept. 12. “For St. Cloud Library patrons due dates will be extended for items checked out and placed on hold. All other Great River Regional Libraries will remain open with normal operations.”
The Todd County Sheriff's Office is sad to advise that on 08-22-16 MN State Patrol responded to a report of an overturned vehicle in a ravine which was spotted by MNDOT. When Troopers arrived they found a deceased male party in the vehicle. Todd County Sheriff's Office responded and assisted in the accident investigation. Further investigation it shows the vehicle, 2008 Toyota Scion, was traveling Westbound I-94 at about Milepost 121 when it veered off the road to the right and overturned and landed upside down in a ravine. It is believed that the Toyota and occupant have been there for a long period of time. This is an ongoing investigation but at this time no foul play is being considered with the finding of this vehicle and body. The occupant was taken to Midwest Medical for positive identification. The Midwest Medical Examiner Office has confirmed the identity of the body to be that of Alan Michael Thomas DOB 12/28/68 who was reported missing from Todd County on 08-08-16. During the course of this investigation into the missing person report of Alan Michael Thomas, the Todd County Sheriff's Office was assisted by and would like to thank the MN State Patrol, the Blaine Police Department, MNDOT, MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, as well as several other agencies with the attempt to locate Alan Michael Thomas. 08/21/16 04:22 COUNTY 31, LONG PRAIRIE, MN 56347 Accident Property On 8/21/2016 at approximately 0422 hours the Todd County Sheriffs Office responded to a one vehicle roll over on County Road 31 in Little Elk Township. T
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