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The brother and sister of a missing Andover man have been arrested and accused of killing him and burning his body in a dispute over their grandmother's property.
Andrew T. Hawes, 36, of Robbinsdale and Elizabeth M. Hawes, 43, of Minneapolis, were in the Anoka County jail Friday on suspicion of second-degree murder. Andrew Hawes' girlfriend, Kristina Dorniden, 29, of Westbrook, Minn., was also arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and was in jail.
Anoka County authorities say Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes killed Edwin C. Hawes, 46, then burned his body on land in Cottonwood County owned by Dorniden. All could be formally charged as soon as Monday.
The three have refused to speak to investigators, but authorities said it appears Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes were fighting with their older brother, who is named as conservator of their grandmother's property.
"It's a little more bizarre than our run-of-the-mill, but it's a typical motive, if what we're being told is true," said Sheriff's Lt. Paul Sommer.
How the grandmother's property was to be divided was not clear Friday night, but public records indicate the 97-year-old grandmother owns a home in Robbinsdale valued at about $180,000.
Sommer said there is evidence of bad blood among the siblings. Andrew Hawes was arrested in Minneapolis last month on a charge of first-degree assault, accused of trying to run over his brother with a car. Edwin Hawes had filed an order for protection against his brother and sister this summer.
According to Sommer, Ed Hawes' roommate reported him missing Thursday afternoon, telling police that Hawes had been gone for several days and that he found a large amount of blood in the driveway of the home at 2579 S. Coon Creek Drive NW.
As authorities searched for him, they learned of the disputes between the siblings, Sommer said, and that Dorniden had property in Cottonwood County. Westbrook police went to the property around 11 p.m. Thursday and reported that they had found Dorniden and Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes tending what police described as a "very large" fire. Anoka authorities asked Westbrook police to return to the scene.
When they did, only Dorniden remained. Police doused the flames and discovered a human torso. Dorniden was arrested there. The siblings were arrested elsewhere later.
Sommer said testing may take several weeks to determine a positive ID but "at this point, we are moving forward with the assumption that [the remains are] likely Ed Hawes." The search for Hawes has stopped. Authorities do not yet know a cause of death.
"Ed had been placed in a conservator role, and the other two thought he was stealing from them or otherwise not being honest with them," Sommer said.
The confrontations among the siblings appear to go back almost two years, according to court documents. In an order for protection filed against Andrew this summer, Edwin Hawes claimed that in March 2007, his brother had ransacked his office, broken property and went to their parents' home threatening to kill him.
In July, Edwin Hawes was driving in Minneapolis with his 6-year-old daughter when he noticed his brother following him in a white pickup truck with a "Hawes Lawn" sign on the side, a reference to a business the brothers ran. Edwin called police.
Documents say the truck rammed Edwin Hawes' car.
"I am concerned because the ongoing pattern of illegal activity and harassment toward me by Andrew Hawes has now escalated into physical attack and endangerment of my daughter," Hawes said in court documents.
Edwin was listed as president and Andrew was listed as the vice president of the company, according to public records. Kristina Dorniden was listed as the office manager. Edwin Hawes listed his workplace as Green Guardian in St. Paul in court documents he filed this summer.
Neighbors on the large, amply spaced tracts along Coon Creek Drive bordering South Coon Creek say they typically saw Edwin Hawes working on his lawn, and he would occasionally speak of his daughter.
His home stood empty Friday evening. Two vehicles were parked in the driveway, which was still stained with what appeared to be blood. Red crime scene tape marked the front door.
Isabel Kohou lives across the street from Ed Hawes' home. In 63 years in her house, Friday's news marked the first instance of violence in the neighborhood that she can remember.
"I read books with this kind of stuff in it all the time," she said. "I've been here a long time, and there's been nothing close to this."
Next-door neighbor Al Ancheta said a large stand of trees made it tough to interact with neighbors on a daily basis. He doesn't hear much, either. It's hard to grasp the news of what happened to his neighbor, even if it was a domestic situation.
"I don't know if that part helps or hurts," he said. "It's always tragic when something like this happens. You just never know what's going on behind closed doors, I guess."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921 Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628