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Anarae Schunk, 20. (This photo was likely taken in a mirror, reversing the Minnesota logo.)

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Shavelle Nelson

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Ashley Conrade

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Schunk

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Charges will come today against two in death of Anarae Schunk

  • Article by: Pat Pheifer
  • Star Tribune
  • June 27, 2014 - 9:06 AM

More than nine months after the vicious killing of Anarae Schunk at a Rosemount townhouse, authorities on Friday will detail how the 20-year-old University of Minnesota student lost her life.

Her parents aren’t sure whether the filing of charges in the case will bring them relief or new agony.

“They talk about these different stages of grief,” Mariana Schunk said. “I’ve experienced it over and over and over. What in the world could Anarae have done so horrible to him that he would have done this?”

Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, 32, and Ashley M. Conrade, 24, each will be charged in Dakota County District Court with second-degree intentional murder, the county attorney’s office confirmed Thursday.

The 31-page criminal complaint is expected to detail what happened hour by hour last September from the time Monty Schunk dropped off his youngest child and only daughter at a coffee shop on Hwy. 13 in Burnsville until her body was found nine days later in a roadside ditch with multiple stab wounds.

County Attorney Jim Backstrom will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. Friday in Hastings to talk about the investigation and the charges.

Conrade, who lived at the Rosemount townhouse and was dating Nelson at the time, was rearrested Wednesday and will make her first court appearance Friday morning. Nelson may be charged by warrant; he is serving a nine-year prison sentence for an unrelated burglary in Richfield in June 2013. The burglary was the latest conviction in a long criminal record for Nelson.

Sources close to the case have said a grand jury will be convened within a month to consider escalating the charges to first-degree murder.

Schunk, who briefly dated Nelson in the summer of 2012, was with the two defendants at Nina’s Bar & Grill in Burnsville the night of Sept. 21 and into the wee hours of the 22nd. She likely saw the fatal shooting of Palagor Jobi, 23, in the parking lot outside.

Nelson is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in Jobi’s death; his trial in that case is scheduled to begin in late October. Conrade is charged with aiding an offender in that case. Her next court date is mid-October.

Mariana Schunk said she and her family learned June 6 about many of the details of the case against her daughter’s suspected killers.

She didn’t share much but said investigators were able to trace “pings” from people trying to call her daughter’s cellphone, including several calls made by Nelson that came after Anarae was already dead. Mariana Schunk said she believes Nelson made those calls to throw investigators off his trail.

“It’s sickening,” she said. If Nelson hadn’t been out on bail in the burglary case, “Anarae and Palagor would still be alive. There would have been countless numbers of victims not victimized because their offender would have been incarcerated.”

Never seen alive again

According to court documents and family members, Schunk went with Nelson and Conrade to Conrade’s home after Jobi was killed. She was never seen alive again. Her family frantically searched for her for nine days before her body, riddled with stab wounds, was found in a roadside ditch near Lonsdale.

Police have said they believe she was killed at the townhouse soon after Jobi’s murder. Documents filed last November said a bloodstained quilt and a plastic tub containing blood were found in the rafters of Conrade’s garage.

Schunk’s eldest brother, Tyson, said the court case against Conrade and Nelson isn’t likely to begin until the Jobi case is concluded. If Nelson is convicted or pleads guilty to killing Jobi and receives a stiff sentence, the Schunk family would prefer a plea bargain rather than a trial in Anarae’s case.

Tyson said he doesn’t need to see all the evidence detailed.

“I know what I need to know,” he said. “Nothing else out there would be of value to me. It would only serve to hurt. And we don’t want to do that.”

Anarae had moved out of her parents’ home in Burnsville and into an apartment near the U campus about a month before her death. She played tournament chess in high school and called herself a “chess nerd.”

Her professors and teachers at the U spoke at her memorial service last October and described her as a smart young woman who believed in the good in people and as a mentor who could have helped change the world.

She had met Nelson at a bus stop in the summer of 2012. He told her he was a hedge fund manager.

Even after she learned about his criminal past, she believed she could help him change. The relationship didn’t last long, but Schunk had reconnected with Nelson in the weeks before her death. Her family said she wanted to recover money she had lent him while they dated.

Since age 18, Nelson has spent a total of less than four years out of jail or prison. Many of the violent crimes he has been convicted of involved a gun.

 

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

 

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