Menahga man arrested in Park Rapids death
By Sarah Smith, Forum News Service
PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- A Menahga man has been arrested in the death of a 19-year-old woman Monday morning at a Park Rapids apartment complex.
Harley David Leritz, 21, was taken into custody Monday and is scheduled to appear in court today on charges relating to the death of Kiela Knowles at the Park Rapids Middle School apartments.
The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department is assisting Park Rapids police with the investigation. Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said he could not give out any information about the case.
Friend Lori Holder said Knowles died by asphyxiation due to strangulation, and that Knowles knew Leritz but the two were not dating.
Leritz has a criminal record. He was charged with a sex crime involving a minor and was convicted of a felony in 2012.
Knowles has a 2-year-old son.
A radio call Monday morning reported a “female not breathing” and asked for an ambulance. Minutes later the ambulance was canceled.
A truck from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was parked in front of the building later Monday morning. A car was towed from the parking lot at 4:30 p.m.
Holder said Knowles was a single mom who "would give you the shirt off her back."
"She was joyful," Holder said. "She was always there when people needed her."
Police have been critical of the apartment complex in the past, indicating they spend an inordinate amount of time there. But manager LouAnn Rech has been working to clean up the building and evict tenants in trouble with the law.
Litchfield-based Stix & Brix Inc. is the named owner. Scott Rech heads the corporation.