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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man killed in bluff fall was from Missouri

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Minnesota

Man killed in bluff fall was from Missouri

RED WING, Minn. -- The man who died after falling Wednesday evening from a bluff along the Mississippi River has been identified as David Locuson of Fenton, Mo.

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The Red Wing Police Department said investigators believe Locuson, 54, was in town for business. Chief Roger Pohlman said the department won't release what company Locuson worked for because the incident was not work-related.

Police and the Red Wing Fire Department were dispatched to the north side of Barn Bluff about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday. When crews arrived, witnesses were performing CPR on Locuson.

The witnesses said they found Locuson unresponsive on the North Trail at the bottom of a 200-foot rock drop-off. They said they had seen Locuson jogging on top of the bluff about 20 minutes earlier and that he had asked them for directions off the bluff.

"All indications are that he fell from the top of the bluff," Pohlman said.

Locuson was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

(RE)

Rain could help fight three-county blaze

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Weekend rains could bring relief to hundreds of weary firefighters battling a 7,100-acre blaze in three west-central Minnesota counties.

The fire started Tuesday afternoon in Becker County and consumed at least 55 buildings, including 12 homes and 33 outbuildings. Winds of 45 mph drove the inferno from Becker County into Hubbard and Wadena counties.

By late Friday, the fire was 65 percent contained.

On Friday morning, a low-flying helicopter with an infrared camera was mapping the disaster area, detecting remaining hot spots that were entered into a GPS unit for further attention.

Sightseers have been a problem, and Hubbard County Emergency Management Director Brian Halbasch was asking the public to stay out of the burned area through the weekend.

Jeff Edmonds, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, addressed rumors about the fire's cause, saying tales that it was started by a welder, an arsonist and other man-made causes are just not true.

"We've been investigating this from day one," he said. "It is none of the above."

(PRE)

Thief River Falls day care owner accused of striking boy

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- A local day care owner has been charged and had her license suspended after being accused of striking a 4-year-old boy.

Heidi Senum, 39, owner and operator of the home-based day care, was charged Friday with malicious punishment of a child in state district court in Thief River Falls.

James Sundstrom said that when his fiancée picked up their son at the day care Tuesday afternoon, she found the boy waiting in the entry with tears and a bloody nose.

The boy also had two black eyes and "a huge bruise on his butt, which is in the form of a hand print," Sundstrom said.

Senum's state day care license was suspended effective Thursday "due to the serious nature of the report under investigation," according to a letter Senum received from the state Office of Inspector General.

Pennington County Attorney Al Rogalla provided a copy to the Grand Forks Herald, saying he wanted the public aware of the allegations. "We want to ensure the safety of all children in day cares in the county."

Senum referred questions to her attorney, who did not return calls Thursday and Friday.

The charge against Senum is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

(GFH)

Suspect in Moorhead stabbing arrested

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- A suspect in a stabbing May 11 in Moorhead was arrested Friday in Valley City, N.D.

Moorhead police said Zakariya Abdikarim, 26, of Fargo, was arrested about 9:15 a.m. Friday and taken to the Barnes County Jail on charges of possessing a stolen vehicle and on a Clay County warrant for first- and second-degree assault.

A vehicle theft charge is also pending in Clay County District Court, police said.

Moorhead police said earlier that Abdikarim was being sought in connection with a stabbing May 11 during a social gathering at a Moorhead apartment.

The victim of the assault, Michael Burciaga, 25, was taken to the hospital with what police said were non-life-threatening injuries.

Moorhead police said the arrest Friday morning occurred after a Moorhead police investigator learned that Abdkarim was in Valley City.

Moorhead police said the investigation was assisted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Valley City Police Department.

(FF)

South Dakota

Prosecutors likely won't seek death penalty in Schulz killing

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. -- Prosecutors do not intend to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Mitchell woman in March, according to court documents filed Friday.

A notice filed Friday by Assistant Attorney General Bob Mayer says the state does not intend to seek the death penalty against Kent Davidson if he is convicted.

Davidson, 36, is accused of fatally shooting 26-year-old Crystal Schulz in the head with a shotgun March 11. Schulz's body was found March 14 in a shed at her mother's residence in rural Chamberlain. Davidson and Schulz were engaged to be married, according to their Facebook pages.

In Friday's notice, the state noted it reserves the right to seek the death penalty in Davidson's case "in the event of an unforeseen significant change in circumstances."

At a hearing last week in Chamberlain, Judge Bruce Anderson asked prosecutors to decide this week whether to seek the death penalty against Davidson, who is set to stand trial in January.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Sara Rabern.

First-degree murder has a minimum punishment of life in prison with the option of a death sentence, which is by lethal injection.

(DR)

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