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Minn. roundup: Amid search for U student, body of male found in river in Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS—Authorities on Thursday afternoon recovered a body from the Mississippi River near the Lake Street-Marshall Avenue Bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Hennepin County sheriff's office said deputies discovered the body of a male at around 4 p.m. as they conducted a search on the river.

Authorities have been searching the river since early last week, when a University of Minnesota student was believed to have been swept into the water above St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.

On the evening of April 25, a 22-year-old U student told officers responding to a water emergency that he and his roommate had climbed a fence so they could sit along the river.

The student told officers that a large wave swept them both into the river and over the falls. The student pulled himself out of the water but was unable to find his roommate, 22-year-old Chris Stanley, a U senior.

The sheriff's office said in a Thursday evening statement that it is still investigating and that the Ramsey County medical examiner's office will identify the body and determine the cause and manner of death.


Minnesota measles outbreak spreads to northern Minnesota county

BRAINERD, Minn. --The unvaccinated child in Crow Wing County with measles is a student at a local Catholic school, a letter to parents from the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday.

"This letter is to inform you that measles has been diagnosed in a child who attends St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School," the letter read. "Your child may have been exposed to measles. Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus."

St. Francis is a parochial school in Brainerd that teaches students in kindergarten through eighth grade. St. Francis superintendent the Rev. Tony Wroblewski declined to be interviewed on the phone or in person, but later emailed a statement.

"As soon as the family informed us of the illness, we called the school nurse at the school district. She took it from there .... MDH contacted us the same day, and we have followed their instructions exactly, and will continue to," the statement said. "Our main and only concerns have been prayers for the child who is ill, and the safety of all our children and their families."

An agency spokesperson said the child contracted the disease after being exposed to it in a Hennepin County health care facility.

The health department reported Thursday a total of 41 confirmed cases since April 11, 2017. The majority of cases are in Hennepin County, and almost all are unvaccinated.

The child was not a Somali person, but did not provide further details in order to protect the child's identity. The outbreak has particularly affected unvaccinated children in the Somali community in the past few weeks, as 29 of the 34 confirmed cases so far are Somali and 32 are unvaccinated, according to MDH. In April, MDH Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger linked the outbreak to false information the community had received about the supposed risk of vaccines, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.


Man gets 60 years in prison for sexual assault of preteen girl

DULUTH, Minn. --- A Duluth-area man was sentenced Wednesday to 60 years in prison for sexually assaulting a preteen girl.

Brian Arthur Barthman, 47, of Hermantown was sentenced Wednesday to two 30-year prison sentences to be served one after the other, according to the St. Louis County attorney's office. Barthman was found guilty in March of three counts each of first- and second-degree criminal-sexual conduct.

St. Louis County attorney Mark Rubin said the sentence is believed to be the longest-duration sentence for a sex crime in the county since Minnesota's sentencing guidelines were implemented in the early 1980s.

Mandatory reporters in the Hermantown school district contacted authorities in 2015 after the girl said that Barthman, who was known to her, had touched her on multiple occasions.

She also told authorities that in addition to the touching, he asked her to have "some X" and when she said no, he raped her, according to the complaint. She said she declined to view " 'naughty pictures' and video" with Barthman, according to the criminal complaint.

Barthman also faces a federal charge for possessing child pornography involving children younger than 12. The indictment, filed in October, alleges that Barthman possessed hundreds of child pornography images that included children subjected to sexual abuse and other violence. Barthman has pleaded not guilty to the federal charge and his trial is scheduled for June 26 in Duluth.


Police officer asks Minnesota's highest court for change of venue

ST. PAUL—The defense team for the St. Anthony police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile is making another attempt to have his trial moved outside the Twin Cities.

Defense attorneys have suggested moving the trial to Brainerd or Duluth.

A Ramsey County judge and the Minnesota Court of Appeals already have turned down officer Jeronimo Yanez's bid for a change of venue. On Wednesday, Yanez's lawyers submitted a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the failed appeal.

They argue the appeals court ignored case law that authorizes a change of venue based on prejudicial comments by public officials. Wednesday's petition mentions statements by Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, officials who the public would expect to be "in-the-know" and "who collectively announced Officer Yanez's deep and unmitigated guilt."

The precedent they cite comes from the notorious 1963 case of T. Eugene Thompson, a St. Paul attorney who hired a hit man to kill his wife in their Highland Park home after he purchased $1.1 million in life insurance policies on her. Thompson's trial was moved out of Ramsey County because "no other recent case had 'aroused so much interest and so much discussion as this one,'" Yanez's lawyers wrote, quoting State v. Thompson. "That phrasing describes our case."