Dead Woman's Float: How a Man Landed Behind Bars After His Wife's Mysterious Death

Jon Proctor

A bespectacled man with a long face and hair tinged red took the stand inside the Kandiyohi County Courthouse in Willmar.

Everyone in the courtroom knew who he was. Dr. Michael McGee represented the prosecution's big gun in the murder trial of Thomas Daniel Rhodes.

The prosecutor asked the witness to come forward. McGee exited the stand and walked toward a mannequin bust prominently positioned at the center of the courtroom. The prop had been doctored to resemble the victim, Jane Rhodes, Tom's wife, on the day her body washed ashore on Green Lake near Spicer.

The forehead was painted a sick shade of burgundy. Red and purple splotches girdled the eyes and stained the high cheekbones. Black bruises ran down both sides of the nose. The lip was split open.

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The Mall of America, Minnesota's Suicide Hot Spot

Categories: Tragedy

Photos by E. Katie Holm

Annette LeSueur was late driving home on March 8, 2010. She'd spent the evening at a Hindu temple honoring the birth of her art student's new child. Now she was replaying the ceremony in her head, particularly the verses about the cycle of death and rebirth. The concept, so foreign to her Mormon upbringing, seemed oddly comforting.

She arrived home to find a police car in the driveway of her Plymouth apartment complex. LeSueur intuitively scowled, thinking back to all those times she called 911 for help getting her 24-year-old son, Lohr Hathaway, to the hospital.

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Family: Eastview Hockey Player Died from Heart Defect

Categories: Hockey, Tragedy

Eastview Hockey Association
Patrick Schoonover, far right, with his family. Schoonover died Friday night while playing in a hockey tournament in Brainerd.

On Friday night Patrick Schoonover, a 14-year-old playing for Eastview's Bantam AA team, died while playing in a tournament in Brainerd.

Yesterday his family released a statement through the Eastview Hockey Association saying Schoonover's death was the result of a heart defect and not hockey-related.

See also:

US Pond Hockey Championships 2014 [PHOTOS]

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How Mayor Coleman's City Hall Tried to Spin the Deaths of Two Children

Categories: Tragedy

UPDATE: In January 2015, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed yet another geologist disagreed with St. Paul's arguments that the landslide that killed Mohamed Fofana and Haysem Sani was natural and unforeseeable.

For decades kids have come to St. Paul's Lilydale Park, drawn by the hunt for
prehistoric fossils.

The 384-acre park sits across the Mississippi River from downtown, its distinctive bluffs rising from the floodplain. A brick mining operation, closed since the 1970s, left gorged, exposed hillsides, along with fossils for the taking.

On the afternoon of May 22, 2013, a group of fourth graders from Peter Hobart Elementary in St. Louis Park climbed trails up the bluff, in eager search of natural wonders.

Accounts from that afternoon are sketchy. Some say there was a rumbling. All that is certain is that a four-story ravine gave way, sending tons of shale, sand, trees, and water tumbling down.

Two boys disappeared almost immediately, buried in the rubble. The body of one was found hours later. His classmate was not retrieved until the following day.

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Green Line train kills Shana Buchanan, controversial Twin Cities attorney

Chris Steller on Twitter
Emergency personnel gather at the scene of Sunday's accident.
-- Update at bottom --

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed this morning that the woman killed by a Green Line train around 10:15 a.m. Sunday is Shana Gail Buchanan, a controversial Twin Cities attorney who we wrote about back in 2012.

Buchanan, 42, reportedly tried to cross the tracks near the Westgate station when she was struck by an eastbound train. Warning lights were flashing and a warning bell was ringing, but Buchanan might not have heard it, as she was wearing headphones at the time.

See also:
Green Line construction didn't scare businesses from Central Corridor -- quite the opposite

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Nokomis drowning: Mpls Park Board explains why lifeguard wasn't on duty

@RafaelMorataya on Twitter
A teenager was trying to swim to the raft visible in the distance when he drowned.
Around 10 a.m. yesterday, a 15-year-old football player at Minneapolis South High School drowned while swimming off Lake Nokomis's east beach with a group of seven teammates following a summer practice. (Update -- the boy has been identified as Sha-kym Adams.)

Witnesses reported hearing the boy, who was trying to swim out to a raft about 50 feet from the shore, cry out in distress before he went under. Despite a frantic search involving his teammates and bystanders, his body wasn't found until about an hour later. No lifeguard was on duty at the time.

See also:
Brawl at Mpls South High School reportedly involves hundreds, lands students in hospital

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Mike VanWagner allegedly kills teen in drunken wreck, posts pic of totaled car with smiley face

Categories: Tragedy
Mike VanWagner and his son.
:::: UPDATE :::: Charges: Mike VanWagner, man who posted smiley face following fatal wreck, had .29 BAL

Around 3 p.m. on July 24, Coon Rapids resident Mike VanWagner was allegedly involved in two accidents in quick succession along Highway 252 in Brooklyn Park.

First, he sideswiped a vehicle. But that didn't stop him, and tragically, the second incident would be much more serious.

See also:
Woman was partying in celebration of her pregnancy the night she killed Augsburg student

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Mendota Heights' Scott Patrick first Minnesota cop killed in line of duty since 2012

Categories: Police, Tragedy
Though he hasn't yet been charged, authorities have linked Fitch (left) with the murder of Officer Patrick (right).
Yesterday, tragically, Mendota Heights' most veteran police officer, 47-year-old Scott Patrick, became the first Minnesota officer killed in the line of duty since Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker was gunned down under mysterious circumstances in November 2012.

Patrick was shot in the head during a routine traffic stop on Dodd Road near Smith Avenue South just across Mendota Heights' border in West St. Paul around 12:20 p.m. Authorities believe 39-year-old Brian Fitch was the gunman. At this point there's no indication the two ever interacted with each other previously, but Fitch may have had a motive to open fire -- a warrant has been out for his arrest since last month, the Pioneer Press reports.

See also:
Ryan Larson, Cold Spring officer shooting suspect, released: "They have no evidence"

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Decorated New Ulm vet commits suicide after being charged with criminal vehicular homicide

Categories: Tragedy
Liam Kelly's Brown County mugshot
Days after Kelly was charged, he was dead.
On June 27, Liam Kelly, a 22-year-old veteran who had been awarded the Army Achievement Medal and National Defense Service Medal (among other honors) for his service in Kuwait, was charged with four felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a February 15 one-car wreck that killed a passenger in the 2005 Mini Cooper he was driving and left his brother seriously injured.

Just days later -- around 1 p.m. on June 30 -- Kelly, a New Ulm resident, shot himself in his hometown's Riverside Park. Authorities arrived at the scene shortly thereafter thanks to a hang-up 911 call emanating from a portable bathroom, the Mankato Free Press reports.

See also:
Creationists cause New Ulm community theater to cancel production of "Inherit the Wind"

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Scandia's St. Sauver Jr., in trouble for keeping gators and killing horses, dies in one-car wreck

Categories: Tragedy
St. Sauver Jr. looking for his escaped gators last year.
Just weeks after he pleaded guilty to a petty misdemeanor for keeping alligators on his property, 31-year-old William St. Sauver Jr. died in a fiery one-car wreck.

"At approximately 21:45 hours on 6 July 2014, the Washington County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from an individual reporting a single car crash that was on fire in the 12200 block of 228th Street North in the City of Scandia," a release from the Washington County Sheriff's Office says. "The only occupant of the vehicle, William St. Sauver of Scandia, died at the scene. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Office."

See also:
Forest Lake school bans Taylor Gang shirts because 'name is code word for marijuana use'

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