A man arrested Thursday after his parents were found dead in their Eden Prairie home has a long history of mental illness and was being sought for civil commitment, records show.

Nathan T. Lehman, 38, was arrested Thursday morning in Buffalo as a “person of interest,” police said. Two weeks ago, he had been civilly committed as mentally ill. His parents, Robert and Debra Lehman, said they were in fear of him because of past aggressive and delusional behavior, court documents said.

Several neighbors confirmed that Robert Lehman, 57, and his wife Debra Lehman, 58, were the homicide victims. Police have not released the cause of death.

Police said Lehman was identified as a person of interest connected to his parents’ address because of several 911 calls over the past 10 years. His information was shared with law enforcement agencies statewide, and he was arrested by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Police were called to the quiet cul-de-sac on the 6000 block of Woodhill Trail about 7:20 a.m. Thursday to conduct a welfare check on a man who failed to report for work. Officers found the bodies inside the home. No one else was at the home.

Nathan Lehman has been civilly committed as mentally ill and chemically dependent several times since 2014, and he often didn’t comply with medicine or treatment plans. He is incapable of self-management of his personal affairs because of the amount of marijuana and methamphetamine he used on a daily and weekly basis, a court document said.

He suffered from paranoid delusions, and believed he was being followed by police and the FBI. He had been aggressive with his father when he lived with his parents, court documents said.

Last year, he was charged in Otter Tail County District Court for allegedly breaking windows on cars and businesses, pouring window washer fluid in a pickup, evading police to the point they used a stun gun on him, and possessing methamphetamine, according to his criminal complaint.

He was hospitalized for psychological treatment again in February 2016 after jumping out of a moving vehicle. He told staff he would continue to take methamphetamines as his prescription because it helped him connect to God, court documents said,

Nathan Lehman was most recently discharged from the University of Minnesota Medical Center on April 14. A condition of his release was to live at his parents’ home. However, about a week later he went missing, and on May 9, a judge ordered that he again be civilly committed in a locked psychiatric unit, records show.

At that point Lehman’s parents were in fear of him, according to court records. They told one of his case workers that they planned to change the combination to their garage so he could not enter their home. Before he left, Debra Lehman told authorities that her son had packed a bag and wasn’t returning telephone calls.

His parents filed a missing-person report two weeks ago.

The Eden Prairie Police Department, with help from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office crime lab, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths. The Hennepin County medical examiner will determine the official cause of death and officially identity of the victims.

Mobile command units from the sheriff’s office and Eden Prairie were brought to the scene. A few neighbors milled in their yards, saddened by news of the friendly couple who had lived in the area since 1984. Debra Lehman was often seen walking her dog.

Robert Lehman worked as a bus driver. Beyond the crime lab technicians going in and out of his house, it appeared that Thursday was going to be an ordinary day. The lawn had been freshly cut and garbage cans were placed on the curb for pick up.


david.chanen@startribune.com 612-673-4465

brandon.stahl@startribune.com 612-673-4626