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Man who fell to his death in MOA faced rape charge in New York

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • a nd ABBY SIMONS
  • March 25, 2010 - 9:13 PM

The man who fell four floors to his death in the Mall of America Wednesday was a 21-year-old from New York state scheduled to face a rape charge that day.

Dakota Rey Kohler-Lander, of Schenectady, fell Wednesday at the Mall of America after security officers were called about 6:50 p.m. about a man with a knife, police said. Seconds after officers approached him, he climbed over the railing near the Cantina No. 1 restaurant and fell to the first floor.

The medical examiner's office said he died of multiple blunt-force injuries. The office said a ruling on his manner of death has yet to be made.

Bloomington police Cmdr. Mark Stehlik said Thursday that investigators have ideas about what led to Kohler-Lander's death but they won't be made public until the investigation is complete. That will include background checks, interviews and a meeting with the medical examiner, Stehlik said.

Kohler-Lander was arrested last October and charged with one count of rape in the third degree for allegedly having consensual sex with a 16-year-old girl, said Heather Orth, communications director for the Albany County District Attorney. Kohler-Lander was indicted by a grand jury last week and was set to appear in Albany County Court. He did not show.

According to local reports, Kohler-Lander's twin 17-year-old brothers, Alexander and Zachary Rohloff, were killed last June while riding separate ATVs when they hit head-on near the top of a small hill. In light of Kohler-Lander's death, a spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney made it clear he was innocent of the New York rape charge until proven guilty.

"This is a family that has experienced a lot of tragedy in recent history," Heather Orth said. "This is unfortunately not the way that we would have liked to have seen this case turn out."

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 asimons@startribune.com • 612-673-4921

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