Suspect in fatal stabbing had been dating Oakdale victim

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 7:38 PM

Thomas James Fox, 44, is in prison on a parole violation for robbery while police and prosecutors await lab results.

Slaying victim Lori Christine Baker of Oakdale had been dating the man now suspected of fatally stabbing her, according to search warrant documents filed on Monday in St. Paul.

Oakdale police have described Thomas James Fox, the man being held in connection with her death, as an acquaintance. But the court papers say her family told police that she'd been dating a man named Thomas.

Investigators determined it was Fox, a convicted robber.

Fox, 44, of St. Paul, walked away from house arrest last April and was arrested during a traffic stop for that parole violation the day after Baker was found dead. Authorities say homicide charges are pending.

Baker, 39, a nanny who was well respected in her field, was stabbed numerous times. She was found on Dec. 28 in her apartment in the 6200 block of 12th Street N. on her bedroom floor under a blanket.

There was blood pooled around Baker and on walls of her bedroom and hallway. Someone had poured laundry detergent on some of the wall stains, documents say. Baker's keys and her silver Mazda were missing, along with her cellphone.

That night, nearly 13 hours after her body was discovered, a Minneapolis police officer came upon Baker's car, not knowing that Oakdale police were looking for it. The car was in the rear lot of an apartment building at 1600 Park Avenue S., court papers say.

Police had been called there on the report of two people having sex in the car. A woman got out of the vehicle and spoke with the officer, who sent her on her way. The officer could vaguely see a man inside the car, behind fogged-up windows, but didn't have a description, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Upon checking the vehicle registration, the officer learned of the alert sent out by Oakdale police. He drove back to the car, but it was empty. Police had the car towed to a garage at the Oakdale Police Department.

Fox recently waived a parole hearing and was sent to the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes for the remainder of an armed robbery sentence that expires Aug. 28, 2013.

Meantime, investigators are awaiting laboratory results, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said. He declined to discuss the types of tests.

Court documents say a blood swab was taken from Baker's car, on the driver's door, near the handle.

No knives or cutting instruments with blood on them were found in the apartment. Police would not say if a murder weapon has been recovered.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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