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Stepfather suspected in toddler's death

A Minnesota man is a suspect in the death of his 18-month-old stepson, who died last week apparently in Pierce County.

Tylar James Hokanson, 22, is being held in the Dakota County (Minn.) jail as authorities from that county and from Pierce County investigate the death of Nicholas Miller.

A Northfield (Minn.) News obituary lists the boy's parents as Melissa Hokanson of Northfield, and Brian Miller of Castle Rock, Minn. His step-grandparents are Ruth and Walter Hunecke of Maiden Rock.

Tylar Hokanson was taken into custody Saturday. The Dakota County jail's website identifies the grounds for arrest as probable cause--murder in the second degree, without intent.

The child's death is being treated as a homicide, according to Dakota County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dave Bellows. He said while the child died in Pierce County, the autopsy indicated the injuries likely occurred in Minnesota.

"We are working with Dakota County on this," said Pierce County Chief Deputy Neil Gulbranson Monday afternoon. He said more information may be available later this week.

A press release says Dakota County officers were notified by Pierce County officers the boy died in their county June 23.

The child was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, where an autopsy was conducted.

According to the press release, multiple injuries, including injuries to the brain and body, were found. Earlier injuries that had healed were also found.

Detectives conducted several interviews of the child's family members and extended family.

Following an interview at the Dakota County Sheriff's Department, Hokanson was booked into the jail at 10 p.m. Saturday.

The press release says the case will be sent to the Dakota County Attorney for charging.

"This case presented unique challenges to our detectives, but their diligence in seeking out the truth resulted in the arrest of this suspect," said Bellows.