The 60-year-old Garrison woman arrested Tuesday in the death of her 64-year-old estranged husband has been charged with murder.
Helene Teresa Mitchell-Abraham was arraigned Thursday in Cass County District Court with felony second-degree intentional murder for the death of her husband, Wendall Wayne Abraham, 64, Remer.
Mitchell-Abraham is accused of striking Abraham with her vehicle on Sept. 23 outside of Abraham's house after an argument and hiding his body in the woods. Her bail has been set at $500,000 with conditions. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 18.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Mitchell-Abraham:
On Sept. 25 a concerned citizen asked for a welfare check on Abraham but no one answered his door when a deputy visited. A deputy also conducted a welfare check the following week.
On Oct. 9 a neighbor called the sheriff's department, saying he was concerned because he hadn't seen Abraham in some time; the house was unlocked, which was unusual for Abraham; and chickens kept on the property had not been fed and eggs hadn't been collected in some time.
The neighbor said he contacted Mitchell-Abraham, who gave conflicting stories about her husband's whereabouts. First she said he'd gone hunting with friends, then she said he'd gone fishing with friends.
When a deputy approached Abraham's door he could smell a very strong odor of decomposition. Following the source of the odor the deputy found a body in a progressive state of decomposition.
The body was identified as Abraham's and an autopsy concluded he died after being struck and possible run over by a vehicle.
Mitchell-Abraham's sister told investigators that on Sept. 23 Mitchell-Abraham called her and said "she had just killed Doc," which was Abraham's nickname. When the sister asked if Mitchell-Abraham was sure Abraham was dead, Mitchell-Abraham responded that she had kicked the body and he had not moved, thus she was sure he was dead. When the sister told her to call police, Mitchell-Abraham said she didn't want to go jail or prison.
In a series of telephone calls, Mitchell-Abraham said she covered the body with a tarp and blanket so no one would see it. Later she tied a rope around Abraham's feet and used a vehicle to drag his body into a wooded area and used tires and rims to cover up the body so that coyotes wouldn't drag the body into the open.
Mitchell-Abraham told her sister that she had an argument with Abraham, who struck her with a chair. Abraham then left the house and Mitchell-Abraham followed, getting into a vehicle.
"(Mitchell-Abraham) indicated that she was sick and tired of all the things (Abraham) had been putting her through," the sister told investigators.
When Abraham walked behind the vehicle, Mitchell-Abraham told her sister that she took the opportunity to kill or harm him. She put the vehicle in reverse and stomped on the gas, hitting Abraham and watching his body fly into the air. She checked to see if Abraham was dead and then hid the body.
Abraham's body was found Saturday and on Monday a Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension Crime Alert was issued state-wide to locate Mitchell-Abraham. She was located Tuesday in Mankato after Mankato Public Safety officers received an anonymous tip that Mitchell-Abraham was in the city. She was located at 10:09 a.m. in her vehicle on the 400 block of Holly Lane and taken into custody without incident.
In a statement to law enforcement, Mitchell-Abraham admitted to striking her husband with a vehicle but she said it was an accident. She also admitted to dragging his body into the woods and covering it up.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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