Society

19-Year-Old Minnesota Man, Two Accomplices Charged In Kidnapping, Rape Of 15-Year-Old Girl

| by Jared Keever
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Police have arrested and charged a 19-year-old Minnesota man with kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl in the back of a truck, according to court documents filed Wednesday. 

The Star Tribune, a Minnesota daily, reports Joshua W. Lanerd, of Cambridge, has been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and two other related felonies. Two accomplices, 24-year-old Daniel W. Soderberg and 18-year-oldCody E. Pokela were also charged with similar felonies for their part in the alleged crime. 

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According to the criminal complaint, obtained by WCCO News, the girl said Lanerd forced her into a van at a park near Pine City Elementary School on Sunday afternoon. 

From there, Pokela is believed to have driven the vehicle — with the alleged victim, Lanerd and Soderberg as passengers — to a remote area. 

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While the WCCO reports that the vehicle was a van, the Star Tribune identifies it as a pickup truck, and reports that the remote area was near the Snake River Dam.

It was near the dam, the victim reportedly told police, that Soderberg and Pokela exited the vehicle and smoked cigarettes nearby while Lanerd assaulted her. 

The four were said to have then returned to the park and the men released the girl as Lanerd allegedly asked her to help pay for gas for the trip. 

Court documents indicate the girl left the park shortly after being released and went to a nearby hospital where she was examined for evidence of sexual assault. 

The alleged victim reportedly told police she had known Lanerd for a few months before the incident. 

Police arrested the men in the early hours of Monday morning in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart.

The arresting deputy noted in the arrest report that the men “did not seem concerned about their arrest and were joking with each other on the way to the jail,” according to the Star Tribune. 

All three appeared in Pine County District Court Wednesday and they all remain in jail, according to the Daily Mail. 

Sources: Star Tribune, WCCO News, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Star Tribune courtesy of Pine County Sheriff’s Office