Tricounty News

Evidence still sought in murder of officer Tom Decker; shed and shop fires; local crime blotters


Shotgun sought in police murder

At around noon Tuesday, Dec. 4, authorities released Ryan Larson from jail. He still is the chief suspect in the shooting death of Cold Spring-Richmond police officer Tom Decker Thursday night, Nov. 29.  Lack of evidence on which to make charges was cited as the reason for his release.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension continue to investigate the homicide. Specifically, they seek the public’s assistance in finding the weapon used in the killing, most likely a 20-gauge shotgun. If you should happen to find it, don’t touch it, and call 9-1-1 immediately. If you know or saw anything that may help authorities in this investigation, please call the Sheriff’s office at (320) 251-4240.

Shed fire in Danielson Township

Wednesday, Nov. 28, at
11:51 a.m. Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a grass fire and responded along with Grove City, Cosmos, and US Fish and Wildlife Fire Departments to the address of 20223 530th Ave., in Danielson Township. The owner, Joe Crusoe, age 32, from Grove City, reported that a grass fire had started and was spreading to a shed and vehicles on the property.


When deputies arrived, the shed and vehicles were engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the shed and approximately nine vehicles that were parked in and around the shed. The cause of the fire was from ashes that were removed from a wood-burning stove from a different building and placed on a brush pile. The owner estimated a total loss of $10,000. 

Sunday fire in Melrose

Sunday, Dec. 2, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office responded to a structure fire at the Richard and Joan Imdieke residence at 35386 County Road 13 in Grove Township. Upon arrival to the farmsite, a shop was found to be fully engulfed in flames. The
Stearns County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Melrose Fire Department and Freeport Fire Department. The structure was a complete loss. The building contained a farm office and a heated shop. The building also contained a truck, two skidloaders, a tractor, a mixer and a large amount of tools and equipment inside of it. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. 


Wright County Sheriff’s Office

Nov. 26, Bradley James Gustafson, 57 of Paynesville, was arrested in Dakota County on a Wright County warrant for domestic assault by strangulation.

Nov. 29, Tracey Denise Davidson, 43 of Annandale, was arrested in Stearns County on a Wright County warrant for probation violation.

Nov. 29, Amanda Marie Reinke, 24 of Maple Lake, was arrested in Annandale on Wright County warrants for domestic assault and obstructing the legal process.

Dec. 1, My Van Chau, 40 of Annandale, was arrested in Southside Township on the charge of domestic assault.

Dec. 2, Chad Michael Wurm, 32 of Annandale, was arrested in Annandale on the charge of domestic assault.

Dec. 2, Peter Guillermo Corrales, 22 of Annandale, was arrested in Annandale on the charge of second-degree assault.

There were 4 property-damage accidents, 1 personal-injury accident, 1 hit-and-run accident, and 23 car-deer accidents.

There were 19 arrests for DWI,
13 underage-consumption arrests, and 26 tickets for miscellaneous traffic violations issued this week.


Meeker County Sheriff’s Office

Sunday, December 2

1:22 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office observed suspicious activity at the Forest City Cemetery, MN Highway 24, Forest City Township. The deputy made contact with several individuals who were visiting and all was okay.

4:38 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a suspicious person at a residence on 617th Avenue, Manannah Township. The deputy made contact with the homeowner, found all to be okay and the individual had left prior to arrival.

5:38 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance, per the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, to a medical at Schmidty’s, Hwy. 55 East, Kimball. One individual was transported to St. Cloud Hospital.

6:06 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to and dispatched Dassel Rescue Squad and Cokato Ambulance for a medical at a residence on County State Aid Highway 21, Kingston Township. One individual was transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital.

6:09 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to assist the Pope County Sheriff’s Office in locating an individual in the area of MN Highway 55 and County State Aid Highway 17, Forest Prairie Township. The deputy located the vehicle and assisted the Kimball Police Department and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office in conducting a traffic stop of the vehicle in Kimball. The
Stearns County Sheriff’s Office arrested the driver who was taken into custody.


Saturday, December 1

12:09 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted an individual with obtaining information to locate a party at the Eden Valley-Watkins Wrestling match in Melrose, in Stearns County.

9:32 a.m. a Sheriff’s Deputy came across an abandoned vehicle on MN Highway 22, Manannah Township.  The vehicle was off the roadway and not a hazard.

1:34 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office issued a deer possession tag to an individual for a deer that was hit and killed on County State Aid Highway 34, Forest Prairie Township.

6:27 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance for a medical at a residence on 1st Street, Watkins. One individual was transported to Paynesville Hospital.

7:17 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to assist the Eden Valley Police Department with a report of an unwanted individual at a residence on Stearns Avenue East, Eden Valley.

11:00 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance for a medical at the Hilltop Healthcare Center, Luella Street, Watkins. One individual was transported to St. Cloud Hospital.

11:04 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Litchfield Rescue Squad and Watkins Ambulance for a medical at Gloria Dei Manor, North Holcombe Avenue, Litchfield. One individual was transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital.

Friday, November 30

1:40 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm at Valley Quick Stop on Meeker Avenue West, Eden Valley. The deputy checked the business and it was all secure.

11:23 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Eden Valley Fire to a fire at Valley Inn, State Street North, Eden Valley.  The fire department extinguished the fire and there was minor damage.

5:31 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Eden Valley Rescue and Watkins Ambulance to a personal injury accident near the intersection of 150th Street and 193rd Avenue, Eden Lake Township.  Two individuals were transported to the Paynesville Hospital.

6:10 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a car/deer accident in the area of 642nd Avenue and 355th Street, Forest Prairie Township. The deputy assisted in issuing a deer possession tag to the driver.

8:11 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a verbal domestic at a residence on County State Aid Highway 21, Kingston Township.  Deputies assisted in transporting an individual to Woodlands Crisis Center, Willmar, and filed a report.

9:42 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance, per the request of the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, for a medical at a residence on 93rd Avenue, Maine Prairie Township. Watkins Ambulance was canceled prior to arrival.




Thursday, November 29

2:15 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an animal complaint at a residence on 722nd Avenue, Kingston Township.  A young grey cat with white feet was taken to the pound by a deputy.

3:26 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to and dispatched Watkins Ambulance to a medical at a residence on Church Street, Watkins.  One individual was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital.

5:04 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm at a residence on 367th Street, North Kingston Township.  Upon arrival of the deputy everything was found to be fine.

5:30 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, arrested Janelle Elizabeth Johnson,  age 33, Annandale, at a location in South Haven, on a Meeker County warrant for a probation violation.

7:23 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office arrested Chaz Joshua Froemming, age 25, on 735th Avenue, Dassel, on a
Stearns County warrant for theft.


8:56 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted the Eden Valley Police Department at a residence on State Street North, Eden Valley.

11:31 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted Cold Spring Police Department with a K-9 unit for an officer who was shot in the city of Cold Spring.

Wednesday, November 28

6:12 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to assist the public at a residence on State Street North, Eden Valley.

6:52 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a car/deer accident on MN Highway 22 and County State Aid Highway 3, Manannah Township. No injuries were reported. The deputy also issued a deer possession tag.

7:45 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a cellular 9-1-1 call reporting suspicious activity in Kimball, Stearns County. The caller was transferred to Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

9:58 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a request for a deer possession tag for a deer that was struck on County State Aid Highway 19 and 745th Avenue, North Kingston Township. The information was passed on to the MN DNR.

11:35 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a car/deer accident on County State Aid Highway 14 and County State Aid Highway 21, Forest City Township. No injuries were reported, the information was passed on to the MN DNR.

Tuesday, November 27

9:20 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a civil matter at a residence on 395th Street, Manannah Township.  Upon arrival of the deputy the individual was advised of his options.

9:56 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an animal complaint on 700th Avenue, Kingston Township.  Upon arrival of the deputy the deer was put down and a deer possession tag issued.

11:45 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a report of a harassment order violation at a residence on State Street North, Eden Valley.

2:34 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a lost stainless steel muzzle loader near 642nd Avenue and 380th Street, Forest Prairie Township. 

9:18 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted the MN DNR in the area of Kingston Street and 707th Avenue, North Kingston Township, with individuals who had violated DNR regulations.

Monday, November 26

8:53 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a dog complaint at an address on 365th Street, Forest Prairie Township. The deputy transported the dog back to the owner and warned them of the complaint.

10:25 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible scam attempt at an address on County State Aid Highway 34, Forest Prairie Township. There was no money lost or information given and the deputy advised the complainant of their options.

4:21 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a report of an Order for Harassment violation at an address on Brooks Street North, Eden Valley.

6:32 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a car/deer accident in the area of MN Highway 24 and County State Aid Highway 2, Forest City Township. There were no injuries reported.