NEW ULM, Minn. — A southern Minnesota man accused of killing his girlfriend, dismembering her body and trying to burn her remains has been charged with first-degree murder.

A grand jury indicted 26-year-old Miguel Vasquez, of Springfield. The murder charge carries an automatic life sentence.

Vasquez is accused of killing his 23-year-old girlfriend, Amber Lechuga, in September in the apartment they shared with their two children. An autopsy found Lechuga was shot in the head twice at close range.

Authorities say Vasquez dismembered Lechuga's body before trying to burn her remains in their van.

Police recovered her head in a nearby river and her limbs in the vehicle.

The Free Press ( ) reports that Vasquez's public defender, Scott Cutcher, says he'll challenge the indictment because it wasn't returned in a timely manner.