Thumbprint, DNA led to murder arrestA thumbprint on a plastic shopping bag led authorities to their suspect in the killing of Osakis resident Diane Fortenberry.
By: Amy Chaffins, Alexandria Echo Press
A thumbprint on a plastic shopping bag led authorities to their suspect in the killing of Osakis resident Diane Fortenberry.
On Tuesday, Jeffery Allen Brooks, 52, of Alexandria, was charged with second-degree murder in Todd County District Court for his alleged involvement in the death of Fortenberry.
If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
Fortenberry, 51, was killed May 20 when she stopped home after lunch and reportedly interrupted a burglary at her home along County Road 10 in rural Osakis.
She died from blunt force trauma injuries to her head, according to preliminary autopsy results.
What linked Brooks to the crime scene?
According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday, investigators found Fortenberry’s purse, cell phone and several items stolen from her home in a dumpster at the Meadowland Estates mobile home park on 34th Avenue in Alexandria.
Among those items law enforcement also found a plastic Target shopping bag containing black slip-on shoes.
The items from the dumpster were examined by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Laboratory – a fingerprint found on the shopping bag reportedly matched Brooks’ right thumbprint.
Blood matching Fortenberry’s DNA was found on the shoes.
A DNA sample from the inside of the shoes is not yet complete.
The complaint also indicates that a citizen stopped at the Fortenberry’s home while law enforcement were there and told them that the unidentified citizen had seen a black male driving a dark colored vehicle in the area.
While checking out local businesses, investigators reviewed the surveillance video at Head of the Lakes Resort from May 20 and saw a black male seated at the counter of the lodge area of the resort.
Another citizen called law enforcement and told them she saw a gray-colored car in the Fortenberry’s driveway around 1 p.m. on May 20.
Investigators also reported that Brooks was employed at Long Prairie Packing Plant in Long Prairie and a common route of travel from Alexandria to the plant would take him past the crime scene.
Through a vehicle records search, investigators found Brooks and briefly interviewed him outside the Douglas County Library entrance on May 27, where he was arrested without incident.
Brooks’ next court appearance is set for June 13. As of Thursday morning Brooks remained in Todd County Detention Center with bail set at $1 million cash.