A St. Paul woman shot her ex-husband in the back of the head and buried his body in the yard under a newly constructed shed, where he was unearthed nearly a month later after a neighbor complained about a foul odor, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Karina S. Her, 40, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the death of 50-year-old Kou Yang, the victim in one of St. Paul's 16 homicides of the year.
Her remained jailed in lieu of $2 million bail ahead of a court appearance Tuesday. Court records do not show any attorney for her.
According to the complaint:
On July 22, a caller to 911 requested a welfare check regarding Yang, given that he had not been seen in a few weeks. Her also called 911 that day and said her former husband has not been seen since July 1. She said they still lived in the same home in the 1100 block of Kennard Street despite being divorced.
Yet another call was made to 911 about Yang, this one from his 17-year-old stepdaughter who suspected her mother had killed him. The 17-year-old got a text from her 12-year-old sister revealing that Her and the younger girl drove to the Taylors Falls, Minn., area, where Her took a bag holding a long object into the woods and came back to the vehicle without it.
The 17-year-old told authorities that when she came home on July 2, a hole had been dug in a backyard garden that was covered with a tarp-like item. Her later built a shed over the hole.
A neighbor told police about a bad smell coming from near Her's garden sometime shortly after July 5 and persisting for a week.
On July 29, officers brought a cadaver dog to the property, where it showed an interest in the shed's handle and door.
Police arrested Her, who mentioned Yang going to Oklahoma to visit family. When asked about the hole in the yard, Her said she had removed a tree stump. She blamed the smell on the pigeons they kept in a coop. When questioned about traveling to Taylors Falls, Her said the bag she left in the woods was discarded food.
A police search inside the home turned up blood on a bedroom wall that had been painted over. Blood also was located in the garage and the laundry room.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension dug beneath the shed and uncovered a body wrapped in "some type of material," the complaint read. The County Medical Examiner's Office identified the body as Yang and found two bullet wounds in the back of his head.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482