A 23-year-old man from Le Sueur, Minn., was charged Friday in the July stabbing death of an Eden Prairie man found dead in his home a day before his van showed up abandoned in Utah.

Nathan Foth, who was arrested as he traveled from Oregon to Minnesota via bus, was charged with second-degree murder in the July death of 74-year-old Allen Retzer, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.

Eden Prairie police made a welfare check at Retzer’s house near Mitchell Lake on the afternoon of July 22. They found him dead from two stab wounds to the neck, according to the criminal complaint.

Retzer’s minivan was missing and a landline phone had been pulled off the wall. His cellphone showed no incoming calls since July 19, according to a search warrant filed in Salt Lake County.

Retzer’s relatives said they thought his grandson and Foth, the grandson’s friend, could have been involved. However, Eden Prairie police determined that the grandson was not near the house in the days when the killing might have occurred, according to the complaint.

On July 22, the Utah State Patrol found Retzer’s van abandoned in Draper, with the license plate replaced by one from another car in Retzer’s garage, according to the search warrant. Eden Prairie investigators traveled to Utah and worked with officials there to collect evidence from the vehicle and return it to Minnesota.

A search warrant of the van found a cigarette butt with Foth’s DNA and his fingerprints on two water bottles from Retzer’s home. Police also found Foth’s fingerprints on a soft-sided rifle case, according to the complaint. The case appears to have once held a rifle with a scope that was missing from Retzer’s closet, according to the complaint.

An August search of Foth’s parents’ home in Le Sueur discovered a text message on his mother’s phone from a woman in Utah on July 24, saying they had picked up her son along a highway and he was fine and heading to California. In a photo she sent his parents, Foth is wearing a shirt identical to the ones Retzer owned, according to the complaint.

Foth was arrested Tuesday on his way to Minnesota from Oregon by bus. His criminal history includes theft, disorderly conduct and criminal damage.

He remains in jail in lieu of $2 million bail, with a court date of Aug. 29.

 

Twitter: @KarenAnelZamora