Woman in Minnesota accused in the deaths of 2 children

May 6, 2024, 4:12 PM

BLACKDUCK, Minn. (AP) — A woman killed two children in northern Minnesota, set a house on fire and left with another child, according to an indictment announced Monday.

Jennifer Marie Stately, 35, was indicted on counts of premeditated murder, murder while committing child abuse, arson, murder while committing arson, and felony child neglect. Her attorney, Paul Engh, said in an email to The Associated Press that there is a “firm basis” for a not guilty plea, but did not elaborate.

Authorities did not name the victims, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that they were Stately’s children, ages 6 and 5.

The indictment said Stately attacked the children with a knife on March 15 at the Red Lake Indian Reservation, set fire to the home, then left with a third child. The Star Tribune said the third child was her 3-year-old son.

One of the children died from a stab wound. The other died of smoke inhalation from the fire, according to the indictment and a news release from U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

An Amber Alert was issued soon after the fire was discovered. About an hour later, a motorist spotted a vehicle matching the description and called 911. Deputies in Todd County stopped Stately and found the surviving child, who had “visible signs of child neglect,” the news release from Luger’s office said.

Stately appeared in court Monday and was ordered jailed, pending further court proceedings.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said the case demonstrated the value of Amber alerts.

“We are grateful to the Minnesotan who acted quickly and bravely in this case, and to all Minnesotans who join in the search when a child needs them most,” Evans said in the news release.

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Woman in Minnesota accused in the deaths of 2 children