Weather Forecast


News Briefs: Detroit Lakes woman's body found in tent

The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.


Woman’s body was found in tent, relatives say

MENAHGA, Minn. -- The body of a woman whose death is under investigation in Menahga was found in a tent on her brother’s property, family members say.

Kelly Marie Lund, 32, of Detroit Lakes, was found dead shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Family members found Kelly’s body in the tent at the home of Lund’s brother, Eddie.

A cause of death had not been released Wednesday.

“At this point all I can say is the investigation is currently ongoing between” Menahga police, the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said Menahga Police Chief Scott G. Koennicke in a statement. “The Ramsey County Medical Examiner did an autopsy and we are currently waiting for further test results and we’re still conducting interviews.

“We understand people want answers as fast as possible but unlike television, situations like this take time,” Koennicke said.

Lund had attended Menahga’s Midsummer Festival with her boyfriend, Shawn Robert Mieseler, 38, family members said.

Menahga is a town of about 1,300 people in Wadena County in northern Minnesota.

Police surround pharmacy for three hours, come up empty

BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. -- Police responding to a reported robbery in progress at a downtown Breckenridge pharmacy surrounded the building at gunpoint for three hours late Wednesday afternoon before finding there was no suspect inside.

Customers and staff of the Thrifty White Pharmacy evacuated the store about 5:30 p.m. after fearing a robbery was taking place, Breckenridge Police Chief Nate Harder said.

He said police responded within 30 seconds and closed down the building. Several law enforcement agencies began a prolonged standoff on Fifth Street between Minnesota and Mendenhall avenues, believing that a robber could be inside.

As a crowd looked on, armed officers entered the building three hours later through a back entrance. They came out empty-handed.

"We cannot confirm a crime at this point," Harder said, though police are investigating a "person of interest" and will follow leads "well into the night."

Search underway for missing New London mother, children

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Authorities on Wednesday were trying to locate a 44-year-old New London woman suspected of taking her son in violation of a court order.

Amy Lorraine Winterfeldt, also known as Amy Gomm, was supposed to have returned her 4-year-old son to his father in Appleton, Wis., on Saturday but failed to show up, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office said.

The child, Alex Gomm, also known as Alex Winterfeldt, has been entered in the missing children database by the Appleton Police Department. An arrest warrant for his mother for deprivation of parental rights also has been signed.

Amy Winterfeldt reportedly had become "increasingly paranoid" about returning the child to his father, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. Her possible destination was thought to be Utah or Wisconsin.

She is believed to be traveling with two adoptive sons, ages 6 and 5. Another son is in protective custody.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office Communications Center at (320) 235-1260.

Woman killed in west-central Minnesota crash

DeGRAFF, Minn. -- A 19-year-old woman from DeGraff was killed Tuesday in a three-car crash in Swift County in west-central Minnesota.

The State Patrol identified the victim as Kayla Wrobleski.

The accident was reported at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. Highway 12, three miles east of DeGraff.

The patrol said Wrobleski was attempting a left turn when her car was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Thomas Kolbe, 37, of Sleepy Eye.

The impact caused her Pontiac to spin and it was then struck broadside on the driver’s side by an oncoming freight truck driven by Jack Witthuhn, 65, of Wadena.

Wrobleski was taken to the Swift County-Benson Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Kolbe and a passenger, his 8-year-old son Jaxon, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the Swift County-Benson Hospital.

Witthuhn was not injured.

Minnesota Power to pay millions to settle Clean Air Act dispute DULUTH -- Minnesota Power will pay a $1.4 million civil penalty and spend another $4.2 million on conservation and clean energy projects under a settlement agreement with state and federal regulators announced Wednesday.

The Duluth-based utility also will spend another $500 million on pollution control equipment to bring its coal-fired power plants in line with pollution limits more stringent than state and federal laws require.

The settlement resolves longstanding claims that Minnesota Power violated the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act by unlawfully constructing major modifications at several power plants without obtaining required permits and without installing the best available air pollution control technology as required by federal law.

The settlement, announced by the U.S. Department of Justice, comes after a six-year investigation, and is one of about two dozen nationwide.

Utility officials say they have admitted no wrongdoing, but settled the case to prevent a protracted, costly legal battle.

The settlement was filed as a consent decree in federal district court in Minneapolis. It will be open for a 30-day public comment period.

The settlement is not expected to affect Minnesota Power customer’s rates, according to the utility.


Death of toddler found in trunk is ruled an accident BALSAM LAKE, Wis. -- One day shy of a year since a sheriff's deputy found a toddler’s body locked in a car trunk, Polk County District Attorney Daniel Steffen has concluded the boy's death a “tragic accident.”

Isaiah D. Theis, 2, had the key to the car when his body was found about 24 hours after he disappeared while playing with his brother on his parents' property near Centuria. He was found when the car’s owner came to retrieve the vehicle from a repair shop operated by the boy's father.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Steffen said that after an investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Department, with assistance from the FBI, state Department of Criminal Investigations and state crime lab, "it is my opinion that Isaiah's death was a tragic accident and that no intent or recklessness was present to cause that death.”

Isaiah's disappearance came amid a heat wave. National Weather Service records show nearby St. Croix Falls had recorded a high of 87 the day he went missing and a high of 91 the day his body was found.

Preliminary autopsy results released after he was discovered said Isaiah likely died of hyperthermia due to the blistering heat.

Two killed in three-car crash SOMERSET, Wis. -- A three-vehicle crash on state Highway 35 north of Somerset on Tuesday killed two people and injured a third, the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Amanda L. Day, 34, of Osceola, was pronounced dead at the scene, the release said. Goldie V. Culver, 83, of Apple Valley, Minn., was flown by helicopter to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where she later died. Terry L. Baillargeon, 60, of Somerset, was hospitalized with injuries. Baillargeon and Culver were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, and Day was not.

Day was driving north on Highway 35 in a 2007 Honda Civic about 2:35 p.m. Tuesday, and attempted to pass Baillargeon, who was driving a 1999 Honda Accord. The Civic struck the Accord, sending it spinning into the oncoming shoulder and ditch area. Culver was headed south on the highway in a 2002 Suzuki XL7 and was struck by the Civic, sending the XL7 into the ditch. The Civic came to a rest in the middle of the highway.

The crash closed a portion of Highway 35 for about three hours.


Killdeer woman missing since Saturday KILLDEER, N.D. -- A 31-year-old Killdeer woman has been missing since Saturday, the Dunn County Sheriff's Office says.

Laine Craine Officer was last seen in Killdeer at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. She is possibly driving a dark blue 1996 Buick Park Avenue with the license plate number KDK 592, the sheriff’s office said.

She is a brunette, described as 5 feet, 1 inches tall. Officer is between 100 and 115 pounds.

Those who have seen Officer or know her whereabouts are asked to call the Dunn County Sheriff's Office at (701) 260-5730 or Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (800) 472-2185.

Break-in victim accidentally shot herself, police say GRAFTON, N.D. -- A Grafton woman who was wounded during a break-in at her house Tuesday appears to have accidentally shot herself, police said.

She told police that someone had been trying to enter her home, so she fired a round at the person. She then accidentally fired a second round, which went into her lower leg.

Police were called about 11:10 a.m. Tuesday.

The woman was taken to Unity Medical Center in Grafton for treatment. Her injury was not considered life threatening. She told police she does not believe the would-be burglar was armed.

Police said they have a person of interest but have not made any arrests. They did not identify the person or the victim.

Spirit Lifeline shuts down N.D. operations DICKINSON, N.D. -- Spirit Lifeline, the only air ambulance company based in Dickinson, is pulling its service out of North Dakota after only one year.

An email went out Wednesday to customers announcing that the company, which began operating in Dickinson last July, was ending its medical flights in the state.

Spirit Lifeline and its parent company, Texas-based Med Trans, did not immediately return phone calls, but Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said he was notified of the decision Wednesday morning. He had no further information.

The company had been in talks with the Stark County Commission to set up a community membership to cover medical air service for Stark County residents.

A special meeting was scheduled for later this month to discuss options with both Spirit Lifeline and competing ambulance service Sanford Air Transportation.

Man convicted of murder in Williston shooting death WAHPETON, N.D. -- An Idaho man was convicted of murder Wednesday in the killing of a Williston resident last year, the Williston Herald reported.

Jonathan Horvath, 46, was accused of fatally shooting Derrick Spiegel, 28, outside a downtown Williston strip club in March 2013. Horvath was arrested near Billings, Mont., a couple of days after the shooting.

After three hours of deliberation Wednesday, a jury in Wahpeton found Horvath guilty of murder, two counts of terrorizing and one count of reckless endangerment, the Herald reported.

The trial, which began July 9, had been moved across the state from Williston because of extensive publicity.

Death of Grand Forks man investigated GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Police are investigating the death of a 19-year-old Grand Forks man.

Evan Poitra was found dead in his home by family members around 6 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

The death did not appear to be a suicide, police said, and there were no signs of foul play.

No further details were available.

Autopsy results could take several weeks, police said.

Woman accused of attempted murder by stabbing ex with pen GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A Grand Forks woman accused of stabbing her former boyfriend in the chest with a pen faces an attempted murder charge, according to court documents.

Toni Althea Foote, 22, is alleged to have stabbed the man early Saturday at a home they share with two other people.

Emergency room staff at Altru Hospital and the other roommates told investigators that the man told them Foote had stabbed him. ER staff told police the man suffered, among other things, a collapsed lung.

As of Wednesday evening, the hospital said it didn’t have a patient with the man’s name.

ER staff said it was possible the man was stabbed with a small knife rather than a pen, and police were looking for the weapon, court documents said. The two roommates told police that Foote and her ex-boyfriend had a history of domestic violence.

Foote appeared Monday in state district court, where bail was set at $50,000 cash or surety. She also was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
(320) 763-1236