Minnesota man indicted in kidnapping, killing of girl, 5

Zachary Todd Anderson
Zachary Todd Anderson

WALKER, Minn. (AP) – A 25-year-old man now faces first-degree murder charges in the kidnapping and killing of a 5-year-old girl from central Minnesota.

A Cass County grand jury handed up a 19-count indictment against Zachary Todd Anderson. The indictment includes charges of first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

Authorities say Anderson abducted Alayna Ertl on Aug. 20 from her home in Watkins, about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Alayna’s body was found later that day, submerged and covered with debris, near a cabin owned by Anderson’s family near Motley. An autopsy found the girl was strangled and had been sexually assaulted.

Anderson, who is from Coon Rapids, was considered a friend of Alayna’s father.

Anderson remained in jail Friday. His attorney did not return a message for comment.

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