Missing U student Anarae Schunk went to a woman’s house with her ex-boyfriend, now a murder suspect, charges against the two said.
After a fatal shooting outside a Burnsville bar, Anarae Schunk went to a Rosemount townhouse with the suspect and the woman accused of harboring him, the woman told investigators. But both of the accused are silent about what happened to the missing 20-year-old after that.
Family and friends spent a fifth day Thursday in an increasingly urgent attempt to find her, even as police continued to say public participation in searches could compromise a crime scene.
“What we are asking now is … an official embrace of public engagement in the recovery efforts,” a statement from Schunk’s family said. “With the criminal charges now public record, the greatest potential contaminant of the … investigation is time. We are fighting against the clock and need all hands on deck to bring her home safely.”
Murder charges were filed Thursday against Anthony Lee Nelson, 31, in the fatal shooting early Sunday in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill in Burnsville.
Nelson, 31, also known as Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, allegedly shot Palagor Obang Jobi eight times after they’d gotten in a fight because Nelson was angry that he was talking to his girlfriend. That woman, Ashley M. Conrade, 24, was charged with one felony count of aiding an offender for allegedly harboring Nelson at her townhouse until his arrest Tuesday.
The criminal complaints said Conrade told police that she, Nelson and Schunk were at Nina’s together and that all three returned to her home after the shooting. But there is nothing in the complaints about when Schunk, who had once dated Nelson, left or where she went.
Burnsville police Sgt. Rory Bochniak said 15 to 20 officers had searched for Schunk on foot Wednesday in unspecified locations. They planned to search again Thursday but still want no public involvement.
“That’s the last thing we want, for the public to go out and contaminate crime scenes,” he said. “We know people want to help out, but we’re dealing with a crime here and a missing young lady.”
Police said a private citizen has put up a $5,000 reward for information about Schunk’s location. Anybody with information can call Burnsville police at 952-895-4636.
Details of bar fight
The criminal complaints against Nelson and Conrade are nearly identical. They tell this tale:
Jobi’s cousin, identified as W.T., told police that he, his brother and Jobi left Nina’s about 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Outside, Jobi began talking to Conrade. Then Nelson walked over and told Jobi that Conrade was his girlfriend and to stop talking to her. W.T. said he defused the situation, and Nelson walked about 20 feet away but continued looking over at them.
W.T. said he saw Jobi punch Nelson and both men stumbled to the driver’s side of a parked vehicle. It was quiet for a moment and then W.T. heard gunshots. An autopsy revealed that Jobi was shot eight times.
Nelson also shot at W.T. when he ran over, put Nelson in a chokehold and slapped the gun out of his hand.
Another witness told investigators that Nelson approached her inside the bar about 1:40 a.m. and “began making lewd comments to her,” the complaints said. Schunk joined him and he made lewd comments about her, too, the witness said. She said she heard some men arguing in the parking lot as she walked out of the bar. As she got into her vehicle, she saw Nelson pull out a gun.
Conrade told police that she, Nelson and Schunk had driven to Nina’s in her car and left together after the shooting. Nelson drove around the block and parked in a cul-de-sac where he could see the bar’s parking lot, she said. When police arrived, he swore, pounded on the steering wheel and then drove to Conrade’s home, the complaints said.
As investigators approached the Rosemount townhouse Tuesday, they saw Nelson drive away in Conrade’s car. When they tried to stop it, he fled on foot into a nearby quarry, where he surrendered. Near him, investigators found a loaded gun that matched the one used in the shooting.
Jobi, 23, was a Savage resident. A woman who lived near an address listed to Jobi said he had lived there with his family but they moved out last year and she didn’t know where they went.
Relationship gone bad
Schunk, a Burnsville High School graduate now studying sociology at the University of Minnesota, dated Nelson for a few months last year. Her family says she is an intelligent and caring person and believed she could help Nelson turn his life around. She broke off their relationship last Thanksgiving after she learned he was living with another woman — not Conrade — and had a child with her.
Nelson was released from prison on Dec. 12, 2011, after serving time for first-degree aggravated robbery. He was on supervised release until May 25 and is on probation until May 2014 for a misdemeanor conviction for driving with a suspended license and giving false information to police in Dakota County, according to state records. He has convictions for drug sales and possession of a weapon by an ineligible person.
Nelson was charged under the name Shavelle Chavez-Nelson in Hennepin County in June with first-degree burglary and illegally possessing a firearm in connection with a June 12 burglary in Richfield. At the time of the shooting in Burnsville, he was free on bail in that case, pending a court hearing Oct. 15.
Conrade has a history of minor traffic offenses and one misdemeanor conviction for theft.
Schunk’s cellphone was turned off at 9:14 p.m. Saturday, her brother Owen Schunk said. There has been no activity in her bank or credit card accounts. The family is hoping that Schunk is hiding for fear of Nelson or his associates and will eventually be found.
Her loved ones have put up fliers at bus stations, bus stops and places she liked to go.
“We’ve got a whole team of people doing that for us,” Owen Schunk said. “So we can just focus on putting timelines together and doing coordination from our homes.”
He said the family is “going to be considering taking some outside approaches to finding her.”
Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284