Police have arrested Zachary Anderson following the kidnapping and brutal slaying of five-year-old Alayna Ertl, who was abducted from her own home in Watkins, Minnesota.
Alayna Ertl Murdered: Zach Anderson Kidnapped Girl From Her Home With Stolen Pick-Up Truck
Anderson was a family friend staying with the Ertls overnight. Alayna was put to bed at 2 a.m., then her mother Kayla discovered that both she and Anderson were gone from the house at 8 a.m. The family’s pick-up truck had also been stolen.
According to an amber alert issued by the Minnesota Crime Alert Network, police managed to ping the location of the truck since the cell phone of Alayna’s father was still inside. It was last pinged an hour after Alayna and Anderson’s disappearance in Todd Country.
Later that day after 1:00 p.m., KARE 11 reported that officers found the missing GMC Sierra truck inside a property that belonged to the family of Anderson in Cass County. A few hours later, authorities also found Anderson, who did not resist arrest. He also told police where Alayna’s body could be found.
Alayna’s remains were said to have been found in a swampy area, near a cabin belonging to Anderson’s family. She had been pronounced dead at the crime scene. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner stated that the girl was the victim of “homicidal violence” in the preliminary autopsy report.
Anderson, 26, is actually a co-worker of Matt Ertl, Alayna’s father. He weighs 200 pounds and is 5′ 10″ tall. According to Minnesota Crime Records, Anderson received a petty misdemeanor charge back in 2011 for driving without his seat belt on. He has also been charged for speeding and failure to stop at stop signs or stop lines.
Today, Anderson is being held without bail at the Crow Wing County Jail in Brainerd. According to a report from Star Tribune, he is currently awaiting charges, which are yet to be filed.
BREAKING-26 y/o Zach Anderson arrested, sadly 5 y/o Alayna Ertyl's body was found. Now a homicide investigation pic.twitter.com/UxxowV5Y4l
— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) August 20, 2016