Prosecutors on Tuesday filed second-degree murder charges against Anthony J. Mitchell, the 17-year-old boyfriend of slain teen Anna Hurd, who was found stabbed to death on a Maplewood walking trail.
Hurd’s body was found Feb. 23 in Hillside Park, near McKnight Road and Ripley Avenue in Maplewood, about five blocks from her home.
Mitchell lived nearby.
“I thought it was him, but I didn’t want to believe it because Anna loved him, trusted him,” said her mother, Jennifer Hutchings of Vernon, Texas.
Hurd, 16, had a ticket and was supposed to hop a bus later that day to Wichita Falls, Texas. After living with her father for nearly a year, she was moving back home to live with her mother and two sisters, Hutchings said.
Hurd and Mitchell had been arguing for days about the trip, which he initially planned to take with her. They wanted to drive straight through, but a snowstorm kept them from leaving that Friday, Hutchings said.
Mitchell’s mother bought a bus ticket for Hurd but not for him, Hutchings said.
Mitchell, arrested without incident at his mother’s home in the 1700 block of McKnight Road about noon Friday, is being held at the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center. Prosecutors are seeking to have him certified to stand trial as an adult. Mitchell is to appear Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court.
A juvenile petition alleges intentional second-degree murder and unintentional second-degree murder.
The charges allege that Mitchell’s mother called 911 at 4:29 a.m. and said that her son’s girlfriend was found beaten on a trail and that she wasn’t breathing.
Police arrived and Mitchell led them to a spot in Hillside Park about 15 feet from the path.
A preliminary autopsy found Hurd died of multiple stab wounds.
“This tragic case brings so much pain to the victim’s family as well as the community at large,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “Our hearts go out to those who survive her.”
Investigators found that Mitchell and Hurd had gone for a walk between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. He returned alone, telling his mother that Hurd walked to a friend’s house. He went upstairs to the bathroom, where police later found evidence of Hurd’s blood.
About 4 a.m., Mitchell left home, saying he was going to look for Hurd because he hadn’t heard from her. He returned home “hysterical” with blood on his hands, the court papers say.
He told his mother to call 911 and later gave differing accounts of how he found Hurd’s body. At one point, he said a man was standing over Hurd’s belongings on the path and that Mitchell chased him away.
Investigators spoke with a witness who said that late on Feb. 22, a Friday, Hurd confided that she was planning to end her relationship with Mitchell and go to Texas the next day without him.
Her friends told police that Mitchell was controlling and “clingy.” They said that he had threatened suicide when she tried to break up with him recently and that he had become so angry once that he hurt her kitten.
After Hurd was slain, friends also told her mother that Mitchell had been extremely jealous, especially after he caught her texting an old boyfriend to say goodbye.
Hurd, who had been staying with her father and grandmother in North St. Paul for nearly a year, had decided to head south. In Vernon, her mother and two sisters, Amanda, 20, and Nikki, 15, were fixing up a room that Anna and Nikki would share.
“Nikki was so excited and had everything ready,” Hutchings said. “Anna wanted chicken-fried steak that night.”
On the eve of her death, Hurd texted and spoke with her mother by phone, describing how she was saying goodbye to her friends. She planned on staying at Mitchell’s house that night and was going to text her mother when she got there.
“She said, ‘Mom, I love you.’ she was excited to be coming home tomorrow,” Hutchings said.
But the girl never called or texted, and her mother stayed awake into the night. Between 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. that Saturday, Hutchings said, she knew something was terribly wrong in Minnesota.
“I knew something happened to her,” the mother said. “I could just feel it in my heart.”
Word came about 2 p.m. that day, along with a sense of betrayal and anger.
Mitchell had sat next to Hutchings and the rest of the family at a memorial service, and they comforted him. He was at a shrine every time they went there. He told Hutchings that he was sleeping there, by the flowers and candles and teddy bears that friends left in Hurd’s memory, she said.
“That’s as cold as could be,” Hutchings said. “He said he had no idea who did it. We asked him, and he promised us he had nothing to do with it. And we trusted him.”