Updated: 12/17/2013 6:57 AM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste
A year after a 27-year-old Oakdale woman was reported missing and seven months after her body was found, her ex-boyfriend has been indicted on third degree unintentional murder charges in connection to her death.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was the only media outlet with a reporter inside the courtroom.
Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron Schnagl of Chisago County was calm and unemotional Monday as a judge read the murder charge against him in the death of Danielle Jelinek.
Prosecutors are accusing Schnagl of causing Jelinek's death by providing her with cocaine. Prosecutors refused to release any other information on the case.
Family members had contacted police on Dec. 9, 2012, to do a welfare check at the home of Schnagl. That's where Jelinek was last seen.
Schnagl has remained a person of interest since Jelinek's disappearance and after her body was discovered in May in a small body of water near his home.
Schnagl has been in custody since Jelinek's disappearance and has been serving a previous, unrelated sentence on drug charges. In Monday's hearing, prosecutors argued for a $1 million bond, but a judge deemed that unnecessary because Schnagl is already in prison.
His attorney, Rachael Golderberger, said Schnagl is disappointed, but determined to fight the charges. "He obviously didn't intend for her to die, and my client has always maintained his innocence, that he had nothing at all to do with this, intentional or unintentional," she said.
We asked Janet Reiter, Chisago County Attorney, why there was such a delay in filing charges in the case.
"There was a lot of evidence; there were angles to the case that needed to be investigated," Reiter said.
Jelinek's family members declined to comment Monday. Reiter said the long-awaited charge left them with mixed emotions.
"A little bit of relief, but definitely taking it as the first step in a continuing process," Reiter said.
Police said the details surrounding the investigation are not public at this time due to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
Schnagl is next due in court on Jan. 22, when he is expected to enter a plea. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.