Weather Forecast


Murder at the Middle School Apartments

The death allegedly occurred on this side of the complex on the second floor. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 4
A car was towed from the Middle School apartment lot Monday afternoon. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 4
Harley David Leritz3 / 4
Kiela Gem Knowles4 / 4

By Sarah Smith / Enterprise

Park Rapids police are investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman at the Park Rapids Middle School apartments Monday morning.

The radio call came in saying, “Female not breathing” and asking for the ambulance. Minutes later the ambulance was canceled.

A BCA truck was parked in front of the building later Monday morning. A car was towed from the parking lot at 4:30 p.m.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department is assisting with the investigation. Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said he could not give out any information about the case.

Harley David Leritz, 21, of Menahga, was taken into custody Monday and will appear in court Wednesday on charges relating to the death of Kiela Knowles.

Leritz has minor priors, but was charged with a sex crime involving a minor and was convicted of a felony in 2012.

Knowles has a 2-year-old son.

Police have been critical of the complex in the past, indicating they spend an inordinate amount of time there.

But manager LouAnn Rech has been working hard to clean up the building and evict tenants in trouble with the law.

Stix & Brix, Inc., a corporation based out of Litchfield, is the named owner. Scott Rech heads the corporation.

Friend Lori Holder said Knowles died by asphyxiation due to strangulation. She said Knowles was a single mom who "would give you the shirt off her back."

She said Knowles knew Leritz but the two were not dating.

"She was joyful," Holder said. "She was always there when people needed her."

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364