3 Formally Charged in Connection to Alexandria Girl’s Disappearance
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – A 15-year-old girl missing for nearly a month from her Alexandria home, on the 200 block of North McKay Avenue, was found Tuesday.
Jasmine Block disappeared from her home on August 8 and has since been the focus of an intense search by law enforcement.
Police announced that three individuals have been arrested in connection to Block’s disappearance. New details have since emerged after police held a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
According to a news release from Alexandria Police, Block was found running through a field in Grant County near Thompson Lake toward a local resident in the early afternoon hours of Tuesday, Sept. 5. She identified herself as Jasmine Block to the man who called 911. Block told responding officers that she had been abducted.
Three men, Thomas Barker, 32-year-old of Carlos, Steven Powers, 20, of Mankato, and Joshua Holby, 31, of Carlos, were taken into custody Tuesday and later charged on Thursday, Sept 7.
The preliminary investigation conducted by authorities has indicated that Barker, who was known to Block, approached Block outside of her home around 11 p.m. on Aug. 8 on the pretense he needed help with a situation. Block offered to assist and entered Barker’s vehicle.
Barker then drove Block to his Carlos residence and once inside restrained her with zip ties, repeatedly assaulted her, and threatened her with weapons, according to the new release from authorities. Holby lives with Barker and also took part in the assaults. Powers also participated roughly two-weeks after Block disappeared. These assaults reportedly continued over the near month she was held.
The last week of August, the men took Block from the residence to various locations including a cornfield and a foreclosed property in Grant County. On Sept. 5, the men left Block alone for the first time in 29 days. Block ran for help, knocking on doors and eventually swimming across part of Thompson Lake to find someone to help her.
On Thursday, Sept. 7, the three men made their initial court appearances, according to Fox 9. In a statement to police, Thomas Barker admitted to using meth and drinking. Family members have indicated Barker has cerebral palsy and is married with children. He has been charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of false imprisonment.
Steven Powers is charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of criminal sexual conduct, and one count of false imprisonment.
Joshua Holby is charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of false imprisonment.
Investigators are now working to identify the specific locations that these men took Block. In addition, they are hoping to locate Block’s shoes and pants, which were lost as she swam for help.
Farmers in Pope, Grant, and Douglas counties are asked to check their corn fields for damage associated with vehicles driving through them, as well as anglers at Thompson Lake to report any clothing located, floating or on the shoreline.
This remains an ongoing investigation at this time.