Amber Alert Kidnapper Charged with Murder
Zachary Anderson has been charged with the murder of 5-year-old famiy friend, Alayna Ertl
Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie reports the arraignment of a 25-year-old Coon Rapids man on charges of Intentional Murder in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree, Kidnapping and Unauthorized use of a Motor Vehicle in Cass County District Court on August 23, 2016.
The criminal complaint alleges that Zachary Todd Anderson, age 25 abducted a 5-year-old girl, Alayna Ertl, and stole a 2002 GMC pick-up, from the girl’s home in Meeker county, Minnesota prior to 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 20th.
The vehicle had been discovered at a cabin owned by Anderson’s family in rural Cass County. Anderson was located and arrested in a swamp a short distance from the cabin. He then led officers to a different area of the swamp where he said the girl’s body could be located under some debris.
Law enforcement officials discovered the victim submerged in knee deep water, covered by brush and other debris.
A preliminary autopsy ruled the cause of death to be homicidal violence due to strangulation and blunt force trauma. The medical examiner also found evidence of a sexual assault perpetrated upon the young girl.
2nd Degree Intentional Murder carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. Kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of 40 years. First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.
The criminal investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by officers, agents, and investigators of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, the Baxter Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and other area law enforcement agencies.
Anderson’s bail is set at $2 Million without conditions and $1 Million with conditions.
Anderson’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 10 at 1:30 p.m.