Man arrested for kidnap, murder of co-worker’s 5-year-old daughter

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CASS COUNTY, MN – Authorities found the body of a 5-year-old Minnesota girl just hours after they had issued an Amber Alert saying she had been abducted by a family friend.

The body of Alayna Jeanne Ertl was found in Cass County in a swampy wooded area, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis. The suspect in her disappearance, family friend Zachary Anderson, 26, has been arrested, police say.

A medical examiner told KSTP that Ertl died of homicidal violence.

Investigators say Anderson is Ertl’s father’s co-worker, and he was staying overnight at Ertl’s mother’s home.

“It sounds like he stayed there on a regular basis. This is not the first time,” Cruze told KSTP.

Ertl’s mother put her to bed at 2 a.m. Anderson and her daughter were gone when she woke up at 8 a.m. Investigators found Anderson by tracking his phone.

No other details were immediately available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.