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Two charged in murder of Jamestown man

Janelle Alexandra Cave1 / 2
Leron Lee Howard2 / 2

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Two people were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of an 18-year-old man found in rural Stutsman County.

Leron Lee Howard, also known as Ra Ra, and Janelle Alexandra Cave both appeared in court this afternoon on the charges, said Stutsman County State's Attorney Fritz Fremgen.

A judge set bond for Howard and Cave at $450,000 cash each.

Authorities found Abdi Ali Ahmed in a ditch near Spiritwood at about noon Saturday.

Spiritwood is a town of about 30 located 17 miles northeast of Jamestown, the county seat.

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said Ahmed had moved to Jamestown within the past three months. Howard and Cave also lived in Jamestown.

Ahmed's body was discovered by a passing motorist at the edge of a dirt field about 1½ miles north of the Spiritwood exit on Interstate 94.

By 6:45 p.m., the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office had issued a statewide bulletin for officers to be on the lookout for a vehicle in which a male suspect was a passenger. About a half-hour later the bulletin was canceled after authorities stopped a vehicle in Jamestown and took Howard into custody. Cave was located in a separate vehicle around the same time and taken into custody, Kaiser said.

Kaiser said Monday night that tips from the public helped locate the two suspects, but he could not elaborate on exactly what led investigators to Howard and Cave.

He said the community's safety was not in jeopardy. "Right now the public is safe," Kaiser said.

Kaiser declined to say how Ahmed died. He said a motive for the crime has not yet been determined.

Ahmed's body was sent to the North Dakota Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

A homicide in the county of about 20,000 is a rare incident.

"It is shocking to hear about a homicide in Stutsman County. We haven't had one in quite a long time," he said.

According to the Jamestown Sun, the last homicide case the Stutsman County Sheriff's Department handled occurred about 17 years ago in Pingree.

Arthur Zink, then 39, killed Anthony Ray Seick before committing suicide at the home of Zink's estranged wife.

Anyone with information about Ahmed's death is asked to call the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office at (701) 252-9000.