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Brandon Stahl

Data/Watchdog Reporter | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4626
Brandon Stahl is a watchdog reporter with the Star Tribune. He previously worked as the investigations editor at the Duluth News Tribune, where his stories on physician malpractice and medical errors, drug abuse, tax dollar waste, sex offenders and police misconduct have won numerous state and national journalism awards.
Recent content from Brandon Stahl
An American Indian couple's struggle to get their kids back

An American Indian couple's struggle to get their kids back

They battled to get sober, then fought to regain their children from Minnesota's foster care system.
Part 1: Why does Minnesota have so many American Indian kids in foster care?

Part 1: Why does Minnesota have so many American Indian kids in foster care?

Taken from homes, American Indian children have flooded Minnesota's foster system: Less than 2 percent of children in Minnesota are Indian, but they make up nearly a quarter of the state's foster care population.
Foster care disparities growing

Foster care disparities growing

Minnesota judges place American Indian children into foster care in numbers that surpass any other state — and the breakup of Indian families is accelerating.
How one woman broke the cycle of violence to help other Indian women in Minnesota do the same

How one woman broke the cycle of violence to help other Indian women in Minnesota do the same

Amy Hamid helps women who often grew up in troubled homes, turned to drugs and alcohol, then inflicted that same chaos on their own children.
Murder charge: Mpls. dad punched his baby girl 22 times in head, chest

Murder charge: Mpls. dad punched his baby girl 22 times in head, chest

The man's hands were covered in blood when emergency responders arrived, according to a search warrant.
She survived a brutal rape, then told her story in Hennepin court

She survived a brutal rape, then told her story in Hennepin court

The Minnesota Legislature in 1988 allowed the option for those harmed by crime to make a statement at the perpetrator's sentencing. Since then, there has been a national debate as to whether it actually helps victims. The evidence is generally mixed.
Obituary: Philip Dacey, 77, was a prolific poet and an inspired teacher

Obituary: Philip Dacey, 77, was a prolific poet and an inspired teacher

On the first day of his introduction to poetry class, Philip Dacey often had his students shout “POETRY SUCKS!” Over and over again they would…
Lakeville teen describes the day she and her sister went missing

Lakeville teen describes the day she and her sister went missing

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki subpoenaed her 18-year-old daughter to testify on the fourth day of a trial where she's facing six felony charges of deprivation of parental rights.
July 15: Philando Castile was caught up in cycle of traffic stops and fines

July 15: Philando Castile was caught up in cycle of traffic stops and fines

A pattern that some call common also raises questions about the sheer volume of traffic stops for a driver without a serious criminal record.
Philando Castile's mom asks for no protests at son's funeral

Philando Castile's mom asks for no protests at son's funeral

Philando Castile's mother and sister opened up about their shock and grief since his violent death last Wednesday. A lawyer for the family says a lawsuit is imminent.
Officer's lawyer: Castile pulled over because he matched robbery suspect

Officer's lawyer: Castile pulled over because he matched robbery suspect

Family members and attorney for family say suspicion doesn't justify officer's use of deadly force.
St. Anthony chief rejected expert's concern about traffic stops

St. Anthony chief rejected expert's concern about traffic stops

A well-known gun-rights advocate says he told the ex-St. Anthony police chief that he might have a serious problem with how the department conducts traffic stops. But the chief, he said, dismissed his concern.
St. Anthony officers who made traffic stop are longtime friends, former classmates

St. Anthony officers who made traffic stop are longtime friends, former classmates

Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser graduated together in 2010. Two years later, both wore the gun and badge for the St. Anthony Police Department — their first job in law enforcement.
Social worker wanted girl out of Bemidji foster home year before death

Social worker wanted girl out of Bemidji foster home year before death

Bemidji foster father is accused of drowning 2-year-old Kira Friedman.
Care worker at Northland Recovery Center abused two teens, DHS finds

Care worker at Northland Recovery Center abused two teens, DHS finds

Report finds procedures are adequate but were not followed.
Minnesota foster parents are getting burned out, cleaned out

Minnesota foster parents are getting burned out, cleaned out

More challenging kids, funding cuts are creating a shortage in a time of dire need.
New law would have ruled out foster father held in girl's death

New law would have ruled out foster father held in girl's death

Nathan Daniel Jackson's criminal record of fifth-degree assault and theft would have prevented him from being a care provider.
Charges: Girl, 2, in Minn. foster home drowns in care of admitted drug user

Charges: Girl, 2, in Minn. foster home drowns in care of admitted drug user

Suspect's Bemidji home wasn't licensed for foster care.

Despite abuse reports, Dakota County left kids with parents

County officials say Apple Valley case highlights the value of a new approach.

Spike in child abuse reports is overloading Hennepin County

Abused children are stranded as foster homes and shelter beds fill up.

Mpls.-based Council on Crime and Justice abruptly shuts down

Employees say they have not received their last paychecks.

Caregiver accused of sexually abusing girl was on hiring exclusion list

The operator of a child treatment center failed to notice that the 25-year-old was barred from working there.
Obituary: Dale Nathan, family court critic, dies at 81

Obituary: Dale Nathan, family court critic, dies at 81

If not for Dale Nathan, two Lakeville teens missing for more than two years may never have been found and reunited with their father. Not…
Ranch owners say they made no effort to hide runaway Rucki teens

Ranch owners say they made no effort to hide runaway Rucki teens

But their father says the couple had no right to keep the girls.
Court upholds conviction in death of Eric Dean, 'the boy they couldn't save'

Court upholds conviction in death of Eric Dean, 'the boy they couldn't save'

The 4-year-old boy's death has led to numerous child protection reforms.

Abused children in Minnesota are waiting too long for help

Counties with slow response times will soon see penalties.
Once-missing Lakeville girls are back home with their father

Once-missing Lakeville girls are back home with their father

Samantha and Gianna Rucki have moved back into their Lakeville home, readjusting to family life after the teenage sisters went missing for two and…

Lawsuit seeks to overturn Indian child welfare law

Law makes it harder to remove kids from abusive, neglectful homes, group argues.

Charges dropped against Mpls. parents whose 6-week-old child died

Judge says prosecutors failed to prove their case against a Minneapolis couple whose 6-week-old daughter was found face down in a laundry basket.
Obituary: Mike Berkus' love of collecting grew into a career

Obituary: Mike Berkus' love of collecting grew into a career

As a boy in the 1950s, Mike Berkus would often stand waiting outside the tunnel of the old St. Paul Saints stadium in Lexington Park,…
Ranch owners, woman charged in hiding of Rucki sisters

Ranch owners, woman charged in hiding of Rucki sisters

The owners of a western Minnesota horse ranch and a St. Cloud woman are charged with hiding Gianna and Samantha Rucki for two and half years before they were found last month.
Rucki sisters headed to reunification program after shunning dad

Rucki sisters headed to reunification program after shunning dad

The runaway Lakeville sisters who had been missing for two and a half years will be sent to an intensive out-of-state reunification program after refusing to live with their father.
Teens were home-schooled during years hidden on Minn. ranch

Teens were home-schooled during years hidden on Minn. ranch

The sisters were dropped off at a Herman, Minn., ranch four days after they ran away in the midst of a custody dispute, according to the criminal charges.
Charge: Mother hid runaway Lakeville girls at horse ranch

Charge: Mother hid runaway Lakeville girls at horse ranch

Prosecutors accuse Sandra Grazzini-Rucki of "particular cruelty."
Police: Missing Lakeville sisters found at western Minn. horse farm

Police: Missing Lakeville sisters found at western Minn. horse farm

Two Lakeville teenage sisters missing since April 2013 have been located at a horse farm in western Minnesota, after police executed a search warrant Wednesday afternoon.

Twin Cities foster care agency can stay open after settlement

Family Alternatives, scrutinized after a child died in one of its homes, has settled with state regulators.

Child protection reforms strain Minnesota's foster care system

Minnesota’s renewed effort to stop child abuse and neglect is straining the foster care system, a refuge for children removed from their homes. The number…
Bail for Dakota County mom accused of hiding kids voided, then set again at $1M

Bail for Dakota County mom accused of hiding kids voided, then set again at $1M

A mother accused of helping her two teenage daughters run away from their Lakeville home continues to be held on $1 million bail after a…
Key Minnesota athletics executive Mike Ellis resigns

Key Minnesota athletics executive Mike Ellis resigns

Mike Ellis has been on voluntary leave at the U's request since late August pending an investigation into unspecified complaints against him.
Bail set at $1 million for Lakeville woman accused of hiding daughters

Bail set at $1 million for Lakeville woman accused of hiding daughters

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is called a "significant flight risk" at a hearing on Friday.
Police: Network of family court critics is hiding Lakeville sisters

Police: Network of family court critics is hiding Lakeville sisters

Sometimes called the "Protective Parent" movement, they believe that family courts are broken and judges in custody disputes are ordering children to live with abusive parents.
After arrest of mother, Lakeville police can't find missing girls

After arrest of mother, Lakeville police can't find missing girls

Police had hoped to find photos or other evidence among Sandra Grazzini-Rucki's possessions.
Mother of two missing Lakeville girls arrested in Florida

Mother of two missing Lakeville girls arrested in Florida

Police issue a warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, say new evidence links her to girls' disappearance.
In reversal, county moves to terminate parental rights of 2-year-old's mom

In reversal, county moves to terminate parental rights of 2-year-old's mom

After a 2-year-old boy was found in a drug den, county had sought to reunify him with mother.
Mother could be reunited with 2-year-old son found in drug den

Mother could be reunited with 2-year-old son found in drug den

Cynthia Kiewatt, 43, has twice involuntarily lost the parental rights to her children. Any reunion would require drug treatment, random drug tests, stable housing and other steps.

Toddler missing after spotted in drug den found; father arrested

A 2-year-old boy who went missing after being found in a drug den last week has been found, according to the Hennepin County attorney's office. It was the second time the boy had gone missing this year, following a breakdown in communication between police and child protection.

Missing Minn. boy, 2, is found in drug den, then disappears again

The child's former foster parents said this is only the latest in a series of failures to protect him. Twice they warned child protection officials about the danger the boy faced, records show, but said they were ignored.

State investigating teen's death in Duluth foster home

Edgar Morey had been under the guardianship of Clearwater County since October 2014 after he accused his adoptive father of raping him, according to court records.
After Minnesota adoption stalls, would-be mother speaks out

After Minnesota adoption stalls, would-be mother speaks out

Minnesota children often wait years for adoption, and the problem will likely get worse.
After Norwood Teague scandal, U is left with some explaining to do

After Norwood Teague scandal, U is left with some explaining to do

Teague's troubles — including two past gender discrimination complaints — are roiling a university that has faced persistent concerns about shortchanging women's athletes for decades.
U says Teague didn't disclose discrimination complaint

U says Teague didn't disclose discrimination complaint

The University of Minnesota said Monday that former athletic director Norwood Teague failed to disclose that he was facing a gender discrimination complaint at the time he was being recruited and then after he was hired.
Mom charged, now sought in case of two missing Lakeville girls

Mom charged, now sought in case of two missing Lakeville girls

Police issue a warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, say new evidence links her to girls' disappearance.
University names attorneys to lead inquiry after Teague scandal

University names attorneys to lead inquiry after Teague scandal

U President Eric Kaler also said he regrets saying Norwood Teague was "overserved" alcohol: "I cannot state strongly enough that Teague is entirely responsible for his behavior, and alcohol use is no excuse."
Co-worker complaints against Teague date back to 2012

Co-worker complaints against Teague date back to 2012

University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth paid $300,000 to settle earlier claims of gender discrimination.
Twin Cities dentist says he wants to cooperate with hunting inquiry

Twin Cities dentist says he wants to cooperate with hunting inquiry

U.S. wildlife officials say a representative for Walter Palmer contacted the agency late Thursday, before wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe called for his extradition to their country.
U.S. agencies step up in case of dentist who killed lion

U.S. agencies step up in case of dentist who killed lion

In Zimbabwe, two men implicated in the killing of Cecil were in court Wednesday. In Bloomington, Dr. Walter Palmer was referring his patients to other dentists for the time being.
Bloomington dentist thought he was acting legally at lion hunt

Bloomington dentist thought he was acting legally at lion hunt

A big-game hunter from the Twin Cities acknowledged Tuesday that he killed a beloved lion in Zimbabwe with a bow and arrow, but said he regrets what he did.
Twin Cities dentist admits killing beloved lion, thought it was legal

Twin Cities dentist admits killing beloved lion, thought it was legal

A big-game hunter from the Twin Cities acknowledged Tuesday that he killed a beloved lion in Zimbabwe with a bow and arrow, but said he regrets what he did and believed that his guides were leading him on a legal hunt.

MN Lottery has record year ahead of new rules

The Minnesota Lottery is expected to send a record amount of money to the state this year, executive director Ed Van Petten said Monday, although…

Feds punish Minnesota for failing foster care standards

The federal Children's Bureau is withholding more than $755,000 in child-protection funding from Minnesota because too many kids are re-entering the foster-care system.

Hennepin County starts revamping child protection efforts

Hennepin County will soon be adding more than 100 workers and set up an oversight committee.

Study: Hennepin County screens out abuse reports to help caseloads

Outside report found that Hennepin County workers screen out most cases, a stark contrast to many other child protection agencies.
After 2 deaths, Hennepin will add 100 workers to child protection

After 2 deaths, Hennepin will add 100 workers to child protection

Hennepin County moves to make 98 new hires.
Drowned girl, 3, was under child protection supervision

Drowned girl, 3, was under child protection supervision

That supervision had been in place since November, when police briefly removed Corrianah Wright and her six siblings from their parents' Brooklyn Park home. One of the children had severe injuries consistent with child abuse.

Indian couple sue to allow adoption to white family

Advocates for the state's notification law say they are putting their own interests above the rights of the child, who would be better served with an Indian family.
Dayton signs new laws for child protection reforms

Dayton signs new laws for child protection reforms

The governor also approved $52 million to hire more workers and boost services for abused kids.
Interactive graphic: Children failed by the system

Interactive graphic: Children failed by the system

The Star Tribune identified 56 children since 2005 who died from maltreatment in Minnesota, even though they or their caregivers were previously known to child protection. The names were obtained through state and county child welfare records, court documents and medical examiner reports.

American Indians want fewer children put in foster care

The feds are eyeing changes to keep more families intact.
Lakeville police step up their efforts to find missing sisters

Lakeville police step up their efforts to find missing sisters

Samantha and Gianna Rucki ran away from their Lakeville home in April 2013 amid their parents' bitter divorce and have been missing ever since.
Lakeville sisters still missing 2 years after parents' bitter divorce

Lakeville sisters still missing 2 years after parents' bitter divorce

On a 30-degree day two years ago, teenage sisters Gianna and Samantha Rucki ran away from their Lakeville home. They've been missing ever since.

Minnesota Supreme Court rules insurer can withhold records

Ruling ends two-year legal battle between agency, Star Tribune.

Foster agency appeals license revocation, saying it is 'sacrificial lamb'

Family Alternatives appealed decision, despite rape of girl, 12.
Minnesota foster system sends kids from bad to worse

Minnesota foster system sends kids from bad to worse

Records show that too many abused foster children in Minnesota are returned to their parents too quickly, suffer more maltreatment and end up back in foster care.
State revokes licenses of foster providers after 6-year-old's death

State revokes licenses of foster providers after 6-year-old's death

The state Department of Human Services has revoked the license of the foster home where 6-year-old Kendrea Johnson died last December, as well as the license of the agency that placed the girl in the home.
More than 100 reforms urged for Minnesota child protection system

More than 100 reforms urged for Minnesota child protection system

In wake of high-profile case, task force backs major changes to child protection system.
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