MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The man suspected of kidnapping and killing his co-worker’s 5-year-old daughter over the weekend was charged Tuesday with murder.
Twenty-five-year-old Zachary Anderson, of Coon Rapids, faces second-degree murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and vehicle theft charges in connection to the Saturday death of Alayna Ertl, according to Cass County documents.
Anderson made his first court appearance Tuesday morning.
The 5-year-old victim went missing Saturday morning from her central Minnesota home in Watkins. Her parents said Anderson, a family friend, took her after staying at their home Friday night. He also was accused of taking a truck belonging to Ertl’s father, who was Anderson’s co-worker.
A statewide Amber Alert was issued. Tips from the public led investigators to Cass County, about 70 miles north of the Ertl home. There, police found the missing truck at a cabin owned by Anderson’s family.
Anderson, who was arrested in a near-by wooded area without incident, led investigators to Ertl’s body, which was found in a swamp near Motley.
A funeral for Ertl is slated for Friday. Her family has set up a GoFundMeaccount to help pay for funeral expenses.