Police suspect murder-suicide in St. Peter deathsby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio,
Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
Authorities announced today that the young woman found in a Kasota cemetery early Saturday morning died of sharp force injury, in what may be the result of a murder-suicide.
Autopsy results on Michaela Widmer, 22, of St. Peter, led investigators to determine that her death was a homicide, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Authorities believe she may have been killed by a neighbor, who was also found dead over the weekend. He has been identified as Ricardo Taber, 53.
Police went to Tabor's St. Peter home on Saturday as part of a missing person investigation, and found his body. The medical examiner is awaiting toxicology results to determine the cause of his death, but authorities believe his death was a suicide.
Le Sueur County Sheriff Dave Gliszinski said Widmer's abandoned daughter led them to start looking into the matter. "The Le Sueur County law enforcement center received a call approximately 11:30 Friday evening, from an individual that happened to turn around at the public access at Lake Emily in Le Sueur County, rural St. Peter, stating that when they were down there, they saw this young female, turned out to be approximately 4 years old, sitting there by herself," he said.
Gliszinski said the girl, who was unharmed, may have been abandoned at the boat ramp by Taber, in the course of her mother's killing. Authorities have temporarily placed the girl in a foster home in Nicollet County pending custody and placement arrangements.
Police do not believe there is any risk to the public and are not seeking suspects in the case. Officials from the St. Peter Police Department, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Le Sueur county sheriff's offices are assisting in the investigation.
Tim Nelson is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.