Minnesota Man Charged with Kidnapping and Killing 5-Year-Old

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Charges are expected to come down Tuesday against the man suspected in the kidnapping and violent death of a 5-year-old Minnesota girl.

Twenty-five-year-old Zachary Anderson, Coon Rapids, was arrested in connection to the weekend death of Alayna Ertl. According to the medical examiner’s report, the girl died of “homicidal violence.”

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says that Anderson helped lead officials to Ertl’s body, which was found Saturday in Cass County.

Earlier in the day, Ertl was reported missing from her home 70 miles south in Watkins. An Amber Alert was issued for Ertl and Anderson, and authorities eventually found Anderson near his cabin in Cass County.

From there, he led investigators to the girl’s body in a swampy area.

Anderson was a friend of the girl’s family and worked with her father. He had spent the night at her home on Friday, something he’d done in the past.

Records show Anderson’s only run-ins with the law prior to Saturday had been minor traffic violations.

He is being held in jail pending charges from Cass County.

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