Danielle Jelinek's ex indicted for murder

Danielle Jelinek
Danielle Jelinek

Chisago County prosecutors have filed a third-degree unintentional murder indictment charge against Aaron Schnagl, the ex-boyfriend of Danielle Jelinek, in her disappearance last year. The indictment alleges Schnagl supplied Jelinek with cocaine, which prosecutors say led to her death.

Schnagl, 29, and Jelinek, 27, were reportedly an on-again, off-again couple. The two spent the evening together Dec. 8, 2012, the last time Jelinek was seen alive.

The local police department went to Schnagl's residence in rural Chisago County on a welfare check after receiving a phone call from Jelinek's family Dec. 9, 2012. When police arrived, they smelled marijuana, which prompted them to perform a search of the house.

Officers discovered 12 pounds of marijuana in the home and arrested Schnagl for drug possession unrelated to Jelinek's disappearance. Police reported finding an additional 10 bags of marijuana in a search of a Maplewood storage unit rented by Schnagl's mother.

Jelinek's purse, shoes and phone were found inside Schnagl's house, making him a "person of interest" as authorities investigated her disappearance, said Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan. There were no signs of a struggle, and DNA analyses of trace amounts of blood in the home were inconclusive.

Schnagl told investigators the two went to bed at 2:30 a.m., and when he woke up around 9:30 a.m., Jelinek was gone.

Investigators searched the area for months, including sending dive teams into nearby lakes, turning up no new leads.

Closure finally came to Jelinek's family in May when her body was recovered from a marshy area only about 200 feet from Schnagl's home in Chisago Lake Township. Her body had been missing for five months. The results of the autopsy have not been made public, but prosecutors believe toxicology reports point to Schnagl having supplied Jelinek with a lethal dose of cocaine.

Jelinek had been living with her sister's family in Oakdale at the time of her disappearance.

Schnagl, who has maintained his innocence in Jelinek's murder, is currently serving time at the state prison in St. Cloud on unrelated drug charges, and is expected to appear in Chisago County district court Jan. 22.

--Johanna Holub

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