Coon Rapids man indicted for abduction, murder of girl

 On Oct. 28, a Cass County grand jury indicted 25-year-old Zachary Todd Anderson on 19 counts in connection with the death of five-year-old Alayna Ertl of Watkins. The girl was found dead Aug. 20, in the Wilderness Park area north of Motley.

According to the criminal complaint, Anderson spent the night at the Ertls’ home Aug. 19, after playing softball with Alayna’s father. Alayna’s parents reported her missing the morning of Aug. 20. The Ertls also reported their vehicle missing.

On a tip from Anderson’s father, police found Anderson in his family’s cabin 80 miles from Watkins, north of Motley in Cass County. They also found the Ertls’ vehicle there, according to the complaint.

Anderson led police to Alayna’s body, the complaint states. The complaint also states Anderson sexually assaulted the girl.

The indictment includes eight counts of first degree murder, one count of second degree intentional murder, four counts of kidnapping, two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of interference with a dead body.

Bail was set $3 million or $1.5 million with conditions. Anderson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2016.

Alayna Ertl would have celebrated her sixth birthday Oct. 31.

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:

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