Last year, 23 people in Minnesota died as a result of domestic violence, according to an annual report released Tuesday.
The Femicide Report, which has been published by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) since 1989, documents statewide intimate partner homicides and also offers recommendations for community response.
In 2014, at least 16 women, 2 men and 5 interveners, bystanders or family members were murdered, which was a decline from the year before which had a total of 38 murders.
Despite the drop, the MCBW stressed the need for more resources for victims. According to a MCBW release, state funding for crime victims services has decreased by over 40 percent in the past 15 years.
One of the challenges of preventing and intervening in domestic violence is the “complexity of issues that exist within individual’s lives and relationships” such as mental health issues, poverty and chemical dependency, according to the report. In order to successfully address domestic violence, the report discusses taking a holistic approach to helping victims.
“People who experience domestic violence are impacted in many different ways,” said Rebekah Moses, MCBW's program manager in public policy, in a statement. “These are complex situations that require complex solutions.”
Several of the victims memorialized in the report were killed last year in St. Paul:
Prince Pope, 32, was murdered January 25, at his birthday party when his brother confronted their sister’s boyfriend about her black eye. Pope’s brother was stabbed by a friend of the boyfriend and Pope was fatally shot as he intervened, according to charges.
Michelle Ploetz, 20, was shot in the head by the father of her child April 16 as the pair, their 8-month-old son and Ploetz’s father, headed home from dinner at the Little Oven on St. Paul’s East Side. Timothy Scott Hendricks, 19, was sentenced to nearly 48 years in prison for the murder.
Towanda F. Harris, 46, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend WIlliam Chestnut on May 9 when they began arguing and hitting each other during a visit, according to charges against Chestnut.
Miranda Schunk, 38, was fatally stabbed December 29 at her apartment by her ex-boyfriend, Kevin S. Evans, less than two weeks after she obtained a protection order against him, according to charges.
St. Paul Police are looking for a lone male suspect who robbed the Wabasha Street branch of Wells Fargo Bank Monday morning.
Few other details have been made available. The robbery occurred around 9 a.m. at the downtown bank. It is not known if the robber had a weapon. No one was injured. No other information about the suspect was made available.
The bank was closed to the public for several hours after the robbery, a witness reported. The bank's branch manager was not available to answer questions.
Thank a cop Friday, several law enforcement and citizens’ groups say.
In the wake of mounting scrutiny of police across the country after high-profile, police-involved shootings, several organizations have united to promote National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Friday.
"In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all," according to a statement on the Web site for Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS), which partnered with other groups to help push for the event.
In 2014, 126 officers were killed in the line of duty, including Mendota Heights Police officer Scott Patrick, according to the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MPCA).
“Few professions carry such risks as law enforcement,” said MPCA Executive Director Andy Skoogman, in a statement. “We believe it’s important to show the brave men and women of law enforcement that we are grateful for their willingness to risk their lives to protect ours.”
More than 50,000 officers are assaulted and more than 15,000 injured in the line of duty each year.
"Several recent tragic incidents nationwide, notably in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, have resulted in increased scrutiny and criticism of law enforcement’s community relations and tactics. However, the MCPA hopes today is [a] day where Minnesotans remember the great work that police officers do everyday in a very difficult, stressful and challenging profession," according to the release.
People who want to show support for law enforcement Friday are being asked to change their profile picture on social media to this and share a positive story about law enforcement, wear blue clothing, shine a blue light in their house or just simply thank an officer.
Authorities are still searching for breaks in two unusual cases that the public was asked to help with this past weekend.
The State Patrol is trying to solve the hit-and-run death of a Maple Grove woman who was reported to be on her hands and knees on Interstate 35E in St. Paul before she was struck by a passing car Friday night.
St. Paul police responded to the scene around 9:40 p.m. just south of the Grand Avenue overpass. When they arrived, they discovered the body of Emily E. Boone, 28, on the southbound shoulder. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
"We’re still looking for help from the public," Lt. Tiffani Nielson, State Patrol spokeswoman, said Monday. “We’re progressing slowly.”
Police are asking that anyone who was in that area at that time of the incident come forward if they have information that might clarify what happened. The car that hit Boone may have damage to the driver’s side and undercarriage, and the driver might not have known that a person had been struck. Boone's family wasn't immediately available for comment Monday.
In Boone's obituary, her family said she was a 2005 graduate of Totino Grace High School and attended both Marquette University and the University of St. Thomas.
"Emily was a lover of animals, good friends and fairness in the world. She lived each day seeking the brightness in humans and finding her way to peace and happiness," the obituary said.
Boone's visitation is planned for Tuesday and burial planned for Wednesday.
In another mystery, Roseville police say they haven't received any leads in the violent beating of a 28-year-old man who was found last month lying in a ditch in a park for more than a day.
Ismail Jama, of Roseville, was discoveredsemi-conscious the morning of Dec. 24 in a drainage-pond ditch at Autumn Grove Park, just west of Lake Josephine. Police say evidence suggests that Jama drove to the park on Dec. 22 between 5 and 10:50 p.m.
"The department’s investigators will continue to investigate this case. but at this time, investigators are in a holding pattern until more information is received on this case," Lt. Lorne Rosand, Roseville police spokesman, said Monday in a release.
Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 1-800-222-8477. In the St. Paul hit-and-run, tipsters are encouraged to call 651-582-1500.
A 6-year-old girl died Tuesday morning at Children's Hospital in St. Paul in an apparent drowning at a Highland Park apartment building, officials said Tuesday.
The building is located in the 1300 block of E. Maynard Drive, near W. 7th Street.
The girl's mother was later taken into custody and no one else is being sought.
Investigators have preliminary information on the victim’s identity and are working with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for confirmation. The medical examiner is also working to determine the cause and manner of death.