Washington County

Body found along river is identified

A body found last weekend in the St. Croix River has been identified by authorities as that of a Maple Grove woman. Candy Belle Del Monaco, 37, was reported missing Sept. 8. Her car was found the next day at Interstate State Park near Taylors Falls, Minn., and a boater found her body Sept. 12 along the shore at Scandia. No foul play is suspected, said Investigations Cmdr. Cheri Dexter of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Kevin Giles


Forest Lake

Bicyclist on highway killed when hit by SUV

A 26-year-old man riding his bicycle on a northeast metro highway was struck by a vehicle and killed early Wednesday, the State Patrol said. Alan Sauzo, of Forest Lake, was riding east on Hwy. 97 when he moved into the westbound lanes near N. Forest Road and was hit by a Jeep Cherokee. The driver of the Jeep, Ronald Rucker, 52, of Forest Lake, was not injured.

Sauzo died at the scene, said Lt. Tiffani Schweigart of the State Patrol. The patrol closed both directions of Hwy. 97 and access from Hwy. 61 closed for a few hours while it investigated the accident.

Tim Harlow



Woman gets probation in child’s death

A 23-year-old Bemidji woman has been sentenced to probation for the freezing death of her 6-year-old cousin. Rachel Downer was sentenced this week to 10 years of probation. Downer pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in August. She was found incompetent to stand trial last year, but that decision was reversed this year. Downer was babysitting her cousin, Mercedes Mayfield, the night of Feb. 26, 2014. According to court documents, she decided to go home, but didn’t tell the girl’s mother. The girl helped Downer load her car, but couldn’t get back into the apartment when Downer left. The girl was found curled up on the front step of the building the next morning. Temperatures had fallen to the 20-below-zero range that night. The girl died of hypothermia.

Associated Press



Missing fisherman’s body found in BWCA

Searchers say the body of a missing fisherman has been recovered in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Family members say 75-year-old Michael Weinzierl failed to return from his fishing trip Monday evening. The Lake County and St. Louis County sheriff’s departments began a search Tuesday morning, and dispatchers received a report of an empty boat near Mile Island in Fall Lake. The boat had taken on water and had equipment inside, including a life jacket. The body of the retired businessman was found about 4:30 p.m. Weinzierl was the previous owner of Mike Motors in Ely.

Associated Press


Upper Mississippi River region

Report: Mississippi an economic generator

A report released at a gathering of mayors in Dubuque, Iowa, finds that commerce along the Mississippi River generates more than $400 billion and supports 1.3 million jobs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated the report, which was released Wednesday at a gathering of more than two dozen mayors in Dubuque. The report found that the upper Mississippi River area, comprising parts of Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, generates $253 billion annually and supports 755,000 jobs. The total figure was devised by combining the upper river report with a report on the lower river released last year. The top three industries along the entire Mississippi were manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. Mayors at the three-day meeting said it’s vital to work with agriculture to reduce pollutants in the river.

Associated Press