Father’s co-worker is jailed for life after admitting he snatched his 5-year-old daughter from her bed, raped and strangled her and dumped her in a swamp

A 27-year-old Minnesota man who admitted to abducting, raping, and strangling to death the five-year-old daughter of his friend was sentenced to life in prison
Zachary Todd Anderson kidnapped Alayna Ertl in the early morning hours of August 20, 2016 from her home in Watkins, 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis
Anderson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder involving first-degree criminal sexual conduct with sexual penetration
An autopsy showed Alayna died from ‘homicidal violence,’ which included strangulation and blunt force trauma to her head

A 27-year-old Minnesota man who admitted to abducting, raping, and strangling to death the five-year-old daughter of his friend was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.



Zachary Todd Anderson kidnapped Alayna Ertl in the early morning hours of August 20, 2016 from her home in Watkins, about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Alayna’s body was found later that day.

Anderson was charged with murder, criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and motor vehicle theft.

During a court appearance in Walker on Friday, Anderson, a resident of Coon Rapids, admitted to killing Alayna.

Anderson on Friday admitted to abducting, raping, and strangling Alayna (above) to death

Anderson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder involving first-degree criminal sexual conduct with sexual penetration, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Immediately after Anderson entered the guilty plea, he was sentenced to the mandatory penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of early release.

An autopsy showed Alayna died from ‘homicidal violence,’ which included strangulation and blunt force trauma to her head.

The child had also been sexually assaulted, according to the criminal complaint.

Anderson was a friend of the family and had been spending Friday night at the Ertl family’s house.

Alayna was last seen when she was put to bed around 2am on August 20.

She and Anderson were gone by morning along with the family’s 2002 GMC Sierra truck.

He was found hours later at his family’s cabin near Motley, about 80 miles to the north.

When Anderson’s father found out about the abduction he called the sheriff’s office and reported that he believed his son was involved.

He said Anderson had called earlier that day and asked for permission to go to their family cabin in Motley.

Investigators said they found the stolen 2002 GMC Sierra hidden in a wooded area near the cabin.

They also found a single-shot 20-gauge shotgun on the kitchen table with multiple rounds spilled about.

Alayna Ertl’s parents, Kayla and Matt, hold hands with Alayna’s older brother Carter as they leave the funeral home for the short procession to the church for Alayna’s funeral on August 26

Officers told the station they also found an apparent suicide note with blood on it.

Anderson was arrested after being found in knee-deep water in a swampy area shortly after police began their search.

They said he had open cuts on his left wrist.



Police said he told them Alayna was hidden in the swamp under some debris. He then showed them the location.

Authorities came across the little girl’s pink blanket sticking out from some brush in the water.

After scouting the area, they found the child’s lifeless body submerged in the water and hidden under brush.

Alayna’s body was discovered near Wilderness Park outside of Motley in rural Cass County.

Anderson was a co-worker of Ertl’s father and had stayed at the home on previous occasions.

Days later, nearly 1,000 mourners gathered at the local church in Watkins for Alayna’s funeral.

Source Bydailymail.co.uk

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