Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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WALKER, Minn.—A Cass Lake, Minn., woman police say was present for the shooting death of Brandi Shank—also known as Brandi Strong—was charged Friday, Jan. 26, with two counts of aiding another who they say committed second-degree unintentional murder. A criminal complaint filed Friday accused Sara Renae LaRose, 41, of giving investigators "false or misleading" information about the November shooting. Brandon Joseph Roy, 24, of Cass Lake, was charged in November with second-degree unintentional murder in Shank's death.
MINNEAPOLIS—As football fans pack the Twin Cities ahead of the Super Bowl the next two weeks ahead of the Feb. 4 game, a group of Red Lake youths hopes to introduce the audience to its culture and seize the opportunity of a lifetime. The group of about 44 students is composed of members of Red Lake's Little Bear drum group and the Red Lake Elementary dance troupe. Both will perform during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
RED LAKE, Minn.—The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Wednesday, Jan. 3, to allow fishing on both Upper and Lower Red Lake, nearly two months after two fishermen disappeared there. The vote followed an hour-and-a-half meeting, during which tribal members, law enforcement personnel, Red Lake fisheries staff and others were invited to weigh in on whether fishing at the site of the anglers' disappearance should be permitted while the pair remain missing.
CASS LAKE—Six months after Leech Lake band members voted to build a new casino in Cass Lake, officials broke ground at the construction site Thursday. Various officials, including Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson, Sr., Secretary/Treasurer Arthur LaRose and tribal council member LeRoy Fairbanks III expressed excitement for the upcoming project during the event, held near the current Leech Lake Gaming Administration Building.
REDBY, Minn.—Recently released search warrants revealed additional details of a shooting on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northwest Minnesota that has triggered a multi-county manhunt. In a Dec. 1 post to Twitter, the FBI issued a release asking for help apprehending Derek Jon Paddy, 21, of Red Lake. The tweet said that Paddy was involved in a Thanksgiving Day armed robbery and a Nov. 30 shooting on the reservation in Redby, and is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI would not provide any more information.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Two Burger King restaurants in Bemidji temporarily closed Thursday after more than two dozen people contracted salmonella after eating there. Doug Schultz, a spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Health, said the department has confirmed 27 cases, and received reports of four more probable cases. Both Burger King sites voluntarily decided to close Thursday. Most cases were identified in September, he said, but the victims may have been exposed to salmonella before then. Two additional cases came to light this week, prompting the closures.
RED LAKE, Minn. -- The bodies of two people missing on Upper Red Lake since Sunday were found Monday afternoon. According to a news release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office the bodies of the two missing people were recovered at about 3 p.m. Authorities have not officially identified the bodies, but law enforcement and emergency personnel have been searching for Melissa Seidenstricker, 29, of Princeton, Minn., and Zeth Knyphausen, 28, of Stacy, Minn.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — A year after the disappearance of Cass Lake teen Jeremy Jourdain, the Bemidji Police Department has followed up on more than 120 leads. His family has held multiple fundraisers, conducted numerous community searches and created a reward fund, hoping to bring Jourdain home. Jourdain's aunt, Alex Tanner, said the family is still taking things day by day. She raised her nephew, and has spent the past year searching along with other family members when time permits.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — Conflicting priorities clashed during two meetings Tuesday, Oct. 17, to gather public input for Enbridge Energy's proposed Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. More than 400 people attended as community members testified in front of administrative law judge Ann O'Reilly, who will compile the comments and make a recommendation to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission about the project moving forward.
A Park Rapids man will spend years behind bars for taking a woman to Bemidji to work as a prostitute. David Cruz Velazquez, 44, was sentenced to five years and two months in prison for promoting prostitution. He must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he is eligible for supervised release. Velazquez was charged in June with promoting prostitution. He was also charged months earlier with soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct. According to court documents: