Minnesota suspect shot woman after drinking together at VFW and buried her body on his farm, police said

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Source: Isanti police

Aug. 18 2021, Published 1:26 p.m. ET

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A Minnesota man is in custody and facing a second-degree murder charge after he allegedly shot a woman in the head and buried her body on his farmland after they spent a day drinking together, authorities said.

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On Aug. 5, Amanda Jo Vangrinsven, 32, was drinking with the man at the VFW bar in Isanti, a search warrant affidavit states, according to the Star Tribune.

The man was idenitifed as Richard Melvin Peterson, 37, by police.

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VFW patrons and staff told investigators the pair were affectionate and Peterson offered to drive Vangrinsven home because she had consumed alcohol. The two, however, were spotted later that evening at the Dugout Bar and Grill in Bethel, a town eight miles away from the VFW, and left the establishment together.

Vangrinsven was reported missing after she failed to return home that evening or go to her job at the VFW the next day.

Investigators who interviewed Peterson and alleged his statements contained “discrepancies,” including about his whereabouts they day Vangrinsven went missing and a claim he dropped her off in a local park after she could not remember where she lived, Minneapolis television station KARE reported.

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Police, executing a search warrant on Peterson's property, inspected land that was recently dug up with a tractor and found Vangrinsven’s buried body with a "projectile consistent with a bullet" in her skull. They seized a tractor and backhoe as well as multiple guns.

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Peterson checked himself into a mental health ward at the Department of Veterans Affairs in St. Cloud, and police arrested him on Aug. 17.

Police said Peterson is being held on a suspicion of murder charge.

"This investigation into this case has been moved forward due to the hard work of many different agencies and community groups," Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk and Isanti Police Chief Travis Muyres said in a joint statement. "We are incredibly thankful to them for their dedication, commitment and compassion."

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