Forest Lake police on Tuesday identified a woman found dead last week as Grace Ann Vannorman, 36.
On Monday, a Forest Lake man was charged in connection with stabbing and strangling Vannorman in their apartment and leaving the body there for three days.
Police arrested Lauren Mason Grove Lynch, 27, after a neighbor in the 900 block of 12th Street Southwest reported a foul odor described as possibly coming from a dead body. Lynch was charged in Washington County District Court with second-degree murder with intent.
According to the criminal complaint:
When officers knocked on the apartment door Friday, but got no answer, they attempted to open it with an office key. The door was barricaded with a chair propped under the door knob.
"Officers then heard a male voice," the complaint said. "The male refused to let the officers in and claimed that his girlfriend, who had recently moved in, was at work. … The male ultimately came out of the apartment and placed his hands out indicating he should be handcuffed, and said, 'she's inside.' "
Vannorman's body was found near a couch and was covered with blankets with a pillow over her head. It was taken to the Ramsey County medical examiner where an autopsy determined she had died from homicidal violence. The primary cause of death was asphyxiation, the complaint said.
Lynch told investigators he and his girlfriend began arguing Tuesday and their dispute turned violent. He said he punched her in the face, then attempted to strangle her, then smothered her with a pillow. He also said he stabbed her in the neck several times with a kitchen knife, according to the complaint.
Lynch didn't call for help and "remained with the body" for three days until officers arrived Friday, the complaint said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting Forest Lake police in the investigation. Lynch remains in custody at the Washington County jail.