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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Missing U of M student last seen with murder suspect

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- Burnsville police are searching for a missing 20-year-old University of Minnesota student who was last seen with a murder suspect. Anarae Schunk was last seen at a bar early Sunday morning with the man police suspect of shooting another man to death at Nina's Bar Saturday night. Officer say he has been taken to jail but hasn't been formally charged, and is not cooperating in the investigation and won't say where Schunk may be. She is not suspected in the murder. Schunk has not been in touch with family and has not been active on any of the social media sites she frequents. Police say she is 5 feet 9 inches tall, 165 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing a white zip up jacket with a U of M logo on the chest.


 The state patrol is investigating a fatal one-car accident in Anoka County. Officers say 22-year-old Rebecca Koechner's car veered off the side of I-35W and crashed into a portable message board. 48-year-old passenger Peggy Koecher of Stacy died in the wreck; the driver was not hurt.


Even as uncertainty still surrounds claims that two young Twin Cities men may have participated in the attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya, a video released on YouTube last month continues to gather more and more views. It's a recruitment video put together by al Shabab called The Path to Paradise, and shows three young Minnesota men who left Minneapolis for Somalia to fight -- and ultimately die -- for al Shabab. Among those shown on the video attempting to lure other young Somali-American men over to their cause is Minnesotan Troy Kastigar, who says he left the U-S for the sake of Allah, and compares Somalia to Disneyland. Kastigar died in 2009 -- and the video also shows his dead body. According to the FBI, about 20 young Somali men have left Minnesota to join the Somali terror group in the past six years.


The state Court of Appeals has thrown out the drug paraphernalia conviction of a 15-year-old Rastafarian (rah-stuh-FAR'-ee-in), who contends that possessing a cannabis pipe is part of observing his religious faith. The case began a year ago when the teen had a physical conflict with his mother at his grandfather's home in White Bear Lake. Police were called and while they were arresting the youth, they found a glass pipe and tobacco in a pocket. The trial court found the boy's beliefs were sincere but said his faith doesn't require him to carry the pipe at all times. He was convicted on petty misdemeanor charges and appealed. The higher court reversed the conviction, saying the state improperly argued that the teen only possessed the pipe for an illegal purpose -- which the judges say is not supported by the record. 


 Gas prices have fallen more than 20 cents in September and the statewide average is now a dime below the national average. Triple-A Minnesota's Gail Weinholzer (WINE'-holzer) says we're paying 52 cents less per gallon than one year ago. She says Minnesota had the largest two-week decline in the nation. Weinholzer says there's ample supply, demand is flat, crude oil is going down and there haven't been any hurricanes in the Gulf. Gas is selling for as low as 3-15 a gallon at some stations in the Twin Cities. 


 Cass County authorities have released the name of a young man who was accidentally shot by a dog while on a duck hunting trip Sunday. 19-year-old Aaron Johnson of Federal Dam was hit in the lower right leg when a hunting dog jumped into his boat on the Leech River and bumped the trigger on a shotgun. Johnson's injuries were not life-threatening.


Students on the U-of-M's East Bank campus aren't getting tickets but instead coffee, donuts and safety information from police officers this morning (Wed 7:30-9:30am). U-of-M Deputy Police Chief Chuck Miner says safe bicycling is a major focus, particularly after last weekend's accident when a student who ran a red light was hit by a truck. Miner says they're also asking students to be aware of their surroundings, particularly late at night. He notes there recently have been a few off-campus robberies at the U-of-M Twin Cities. Officers handed out coffee and donuts yesterday morning on the West Bank and they'll be at the Saint Paul campus tomorrow morning (Thurs).

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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