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Montrose man dies after being dragged by vehicle

MONTROSE, MN – A Montrose man has died after being dragged by a vehicle following a confrontation early Sunday morning.

According to Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty, the Wright County Communications Center received a report of an unconscious male lying in the roadway in the 500 block of First Street North in Montrose at 2:28 a.m. Sunday morning.

The victim was identified as Justin Harvey, 18, of Montrose. The preliminary investigation indicated Harvey approached a pickup truck parked on the roadway and became involved in a confrontation with a passenger still seated in the vehicle. The vehicle accelerated during the confrontation, dragging Harvey a short distance.

Harvey was treated at the scene by deputies, Montrose Rescue workers, and Ridgeview Ambulance prior to being transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries.

Two adults were arrested and booked into the Wright County Jail on Criminal Vehicular Operations and Simple Robbery charges.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Grand jury indicts three in Clough murder case

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – A grand jury indicted three individuals in connection with the June 1 murder of 19-year-old Cheyenne Clough of Buffalo, at Crow Spring Park in Franklin Township, Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly announced Thursday.

Shawn Tyler Benson, 21, of Maple Lake, was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder.

Justin Michael Jensen, 29, of Maple Lake, and Edward Victor Zelko, 26, of Buffalo, were both indicted for aiding and abetting first-degree premeditated murder and aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder.

According to a report from Kelly, Clough and her boyfriend, Devon Boyles, had been staying at Jensen’s residence in Maple Lake, while Natasha Brandenburger, Callie Anderson, and Shawn Benson were also living at Jensen’s residence.

Jensen contacted a bounty hunter May 31, and had Boyles arrested on outstanding warrants. This reportedly caused Clough to become very upset and a heated argument took place with those who resided at Jensen’s residence. Clough was told to leave. When she refused to leave they threatened to call the cops on her. Clough then threatened to call the cops on one of the residents who had an outstanding warrant. The argument went into the early morning hours of June 1.

Jensen, Benson and Zelko had some discussion in Zelko’s car, which was parked in front of Jensen’s home. Jensen had his .22 caliber revolver that was in the house brought to Zelko’s car. Jensen reportedly ordered a “hit” on Clough to have her killed.

Jensen reportedly went into his home and told Clough she was leaving and that Zelko would be giving her a ride home to her mother’s place in Buffalo. Benson went with as a passenger. The time was about 2:30 a.m.

Zelko and Benson reportedly took Clough to Crow Springs Park in Franklin Township. Around 3 a.m., Benson, aided by Zelko, reportedly shot Clough four times with Jensen’s .22 caliber revolver. Zelko and Benson then returned back to Jensen’s and informed Jensen that Clough had been shot.

Around 6 a.m., Jensen, Benson, Zelko, Brandenburger, and Anderson fled to International Falls, arriving the evening of June 2. The murder weapon was reportedly thrown into a river in northern Minnesota.

At about 8 a.m. June 1, Clough’s body was discovered in the park and she was transported to North Memorial Hospital, where she died June 4.

Wright County Sheriff’s Office, working with law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota, were able to locate and apprehend Zelko in Staples June 4. Jensen, Benson, Brandenburger, and Anderson were located and apprehended outside of International Falls June 5.

Kelly called the work of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota remarkable.

“From the moment Ms. Clough’s body was found, the Sheriff’s Department investigated and worked nonstop until those responsible for murdering Ms. Clough could be taken into custody,” Kelly said in a press release. “Their work was truly outstanding.”

In Minnesota, the law does not allow county attorneys to charge first-degree premeditated murder. That requires the work of a grand jury. Brian Lutes, Chief of Criminal Division, assisted Kelly with the grand jury.

“I would like to note the importance of citizens who participate in the grand jury proceedings and the individual sacrifices they make when they carry out this very important function in our criminal justice system,” Kelly said. “I appreciated their time and commitment to hearing this case. I would also like to acknowledge those citizens who came forth with information during the investigation of this case.”

Kelly also expressed sympathy to the family and friends of Clough.

He noted all three defendants are scheduled to make their first appearance on the indictment Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Wright County District Court.

Mayer City Council approves site plan for Carver County Veterans Memorial

MAYER, MN – Mayer City Council, during its Aug. 22 meeting, approved a site plan for the proposed Carver County Veterans Memorial. The memorial and associated parking lot will be located near the Dakota Rail Regional Trail along Highway 25. Read more about it in the Aug. 29 issue of Herald Journal.

Khan, Kohler help Wildcats seal state tournament berth

Kip Kovar

HJ Sports Editor

ST. BONI – Shane Khan and the Winsted Wildcats punched their ticket to the Class C state tournament with a 6-2 win over Brownton Saturday evening. Khan threw seven and a third strong innings to lead the Wildcats.

Greg Kohller had the bat in the lineup. He went 3-for-4 in the win three RBI. Kohler’s home run in the bottom of the first helped tie the game at two. He then singled in a run in the bottom of the third to give the Wildcats the lead, and they never looked back.

With the win the Wildcats clinch a berth in the Class C tournament. They will now face Waconia on Saturday, August 13 at 11 a.m. in St. Boni.

For more about the Wildcats and their Region 7C run so far, check out the August, 8 edition of the Herald Journal.

Mayer woman accused of aiding sexual assault of her daughter

MAYER, MN – A Mayer woman was arrested July 8 for her role in an alleged sexual assault involving her 9-year-old daughter in Iowa, according to a formal complaint from the Carver County Attorney’s Office.

Cynthia Mitteness, 48, is being held in the Carver County Jail pending $50,000 cash bail or a $500,000 bond. Her next court appearance was scheduled for July 15.

According to reports, Carver County Sheriff’s Office deputies were alerted to the crime July 7 after Mitteness’ husband found “alarming social media messages” between his wife and Michael Lee Williams, 50, a registered sex offender in Runnells, just outside of Des Moines, IA.

Mitteness and her daughter had allegedly traveled to Iowa June 10-12 to visit a relative, according to the complaint. Mitteness later admitted to authorities to bringing her daughter to meet up with Williams. She stated that Williams likes “young girls as well as adult girls.” The complaint also states that Mitteness admitted to taking nude photographs of her daughter, but could not recall if she sent the images to Williams.

The formal complaint notes that the 9-year-old told her father she was at Williams’ house, and that her mother said not to talk about it.

During the investigation, Carver County Sheriff’s Office deputies reviewed explicit electronic messages between Mitteness and Williams.

Deputies searched Mitteness’ residence in Mayer July 8, recovering electronics, documents, and books. She has since been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct (a felony), contributing to the need for child protection or services (a gross misdemeanor), and child endangerment (a gross misdemeanor).

Law enforcement from Polk County, IA arrested Williams for felony human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to reports, Williams was placed on the Iowa Sex Offender registry in 1996 after being convicted of indecent exposure. In 2001, he was convicted of first-degree sexual assault.

Cynthia Mitteness of Mayer is facing charges involving the alleged sexual assault of her child.

Cynthia Mitteness of Mayer is facing charges involving the alleged sexual assault of her child.

Man arrested in connection with Watertown assault

WATERTOWN, MN – Carver County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an assault in progress on Riverside Terrace Blvd. in Watertown July 6 at 4:04 p.m., according to a release from Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson. The caller/homeowner reported that he had interrupted a person tampering with his car in the driveway. Once confronted, the suspect brandished a knife before fleeing the area on foot. Deputies arrived and checked the area, but were unable to immediately locate the suspect. Later, the suspect was involved in a separate altercation with another homeowner in Riverside Terrace, resulting in a second call for service. The suspect was located at about 7:30 p.m., hiding under a nearby trailer home. He was arrested and taken to the Carver County Jail pending formal charges.