Crystal home searched; yard to be thawed to allow digging.
The back yard of a small house in a quiet Crystal neighborhood was searched by police Wednesday after they learned of a possible death years ago involving an unborn child.
Part of the frozen yard will be thawed out so crews can dig in that area, according to Police Chief John Banick.
"We hope to conduct the excavation as soon as possible," he said.
A couple who live at the home in the 5700 block of Quail Avenue N. were arrested Tuesday. The man, 30, of Brooklyn Park, and the woman, 28, from Crystal, were being held without bail, according to the Hennepin County jail log. The man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder of an unborn child and the woman on suspicion of first-degree manslaughter of an unborn child.
Word of the possible death three to four years ago came to police Tuesday morning as they were conducting a domestic assault investigation at the home.
Banick declined to comment on whether those involved in the assault were the same people arrested Tuesday.
"We have no body," the chief said. "We are going by what people have told us."
Police completed their search of the house Wednesday evening, said Banick. The investigation will now focus on a portion of the back yard, he said.
The yard is surrounded by a tall wooden fence. At one point, a truck with equipment to melt snow drove into the yard. It didn't appear any heavy digging equipment was brought in, but at least one officer was seen with a shovel. Banick wouldn't say if police were given a specific location for their search.
Crime tape sealed off the blocks surrounding the house. A crime lab and special-operations vehicle from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office flanked the scene, as well as about six squad cars from the sheriff's office and Crystal police. Officers removed several sealed bags of evidence from the house. Some wore protective masks on their faces.
Several curious neighbors stopped by the scene, questioning reporters and police about what was going on. Harold Rice, who lives across the street from the house, said the couple are friendly, but that he doesn't know them well.
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, said the couple have a daughter and son, ages 6 and 8. She thought they had lived in the neighborhood at least six years and that the man operated a landscaping business.
"It's weird," she said. "We've never thought anything suspicious about them."
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