Eagan man charged with murder of missing woman

   An Eagan man was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Sept. 11, on a charge of second-degree murder for the killing of his girlfriend found in a pond near the Minnesota River last April, months after she disappeared.
   Uriah Schulz, 40, of 2044 Marble Lane, Eagan, was charged with unintentional second-degree murder for allegedly killing Elizabeth Perrault, 42, while committing a felony, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.  
   Perrault was reported missing on Feb. 22, 2018, by two unnamed men who said they had not seen or heard from her since October 2017. In the weeks before Perrault’s body was found by a fisherman under the I-35W bridge, Burnsville police had been trying to piece together a puzzle of forensic evidence, conflicting stories, Facebook messages, and DNA.
   Burnsville police had gone to Perrault’s apartment on Dec. 13, at the request of Perrault’s parents, who had not seen her “for quite some time,” according to court records. Perrault was not there, nor were her belongings, according to police. Only a few pieces of furniture remained at the home she had moved to about two months before.
   When Perrault was officially reported missing on Feb. 22, police contacted the rental office of the Chancellor Manor Burnsville apartment she had begun renting in October 2017. The last rent payment was made by money order on Nov. 1. When December and January’s rent went unpaid, the building management began posting notices on her door that went unanswered. Management eventually reclaimed the apartment and cleaned it out. They found only miscellaneous pieces of furniture, no personal items, and none of the general signs of a person living there.
   Police then went to talk to Schulz, whom they had been told was living with Perrault at the apartment. Schulz allegedly repeated the claim he had made to one of the men who reported Perrault missing: that the last time he saw her, Perrault had left in a car with two women. But, according to police, the story of what happened to Perrault’s electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card changed. Initially, according to the criminal complaint, Schulz claimed Perrault had taken the cash card with her when she drove off with the two unnamed women on Nov. 1. Later, police allege, he claimed a man named Troy appeared on Dec. 1 and returned the card to him.
   Police discovered the EBT card had been used 20 times since she was last seen on Nov. 1, the day after her birthday.
   On Feb. 28, Burnsville police went back to Perrault’s apartment, looking for blood. Using chemical bloodstain reagents and blue lights, police found a large stain in what had been Perrault’s bedroom. “Within this area of luminescence,” police wrote in the document seeking a warrant for Schulz’s arrest, “there was a large void that was consistent with the shape of a human body. There was also an area of luminescence that appeared to be a footprint.”
   Investigators cut the carpet. There was blood on the carpet pad underneath.
   A neighbor on the other side of a common wall with Perrault’s apartment later told police she remembered hearing a loud “boom” in the apartment in October 2017. “[T]he ‘boom’ was so loud it shook the lamps in her living room,” she told police.
   Police interviewed Schulz again, while he was staying at the Cochran House in Hastings, and confronted him with the blood evidence. Schulz told police the last time he saw Perrault she was alive.
   After searching the Cochran House, police searched the Eagan home of Schulz’s mother and stepfather. Investigators found a broken cell phone that had linked to the free wifi at Perrault’s apartment building about 184 times since the last time Schulz had told police he had been to the building, according to court documents.
   With blood found in her apartment, but no body, police went to Perrault’s parents for DNA samples. The blood from the floor in Perrault’s bedroom was 9.8 quadrillion times more likely to be from a child of Perrault’s parents than from an unrelated person, according to tests submitted to the state laboratory. Elizabeth Perrault was her parents’ only child.
   More than a month after her parents’ DNA was collected and four months after the police welfare check to her apartment, Perrault was found in a small holding pond south of the Minnesota River. She was dressed in a robe with cords tied around her legs, according to the criminal complaint. Her face was unrecognizable, according to the complaint, but an autopsy revealed the bone under her eye and her cheek bone had been broken.
   Police interviewed Schulz again, two months later, at his mother’s house in Eagan. He told police he did not want to look at the pictures of Perrault. He then took a smoke break and returned to ask police if they could do the interview at another time. “I loved her to death,” Schulz told the detectives.
Uriah Schulz

School board loosens access to student info

   The District 196 school board has changed its policy regarding the release of students’ information, loosening restrictions on releasing students’ personal information to outsiders.
   The major change allows school officials to release what had been private student information to police and the Dakota County library system. The policy change allows schools to give police more information about students including addresses, phone numbers, school schedule and attendance records, as well as their parents’ names addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers.
   The change gives law enforcement agencies an alternative source of information in cases where parents might choose to assert their constitutional rights not to give such information to police. The policy change also gives law enforcement another source of information for data mining and profiling.
   The policy change also allows students’ home addresses and phone numbers to be released to the Dakota County library, apparently without restrictions on the use and storage of such information.
   The policy changes give military and college recruiters more access to student information, requiring students and parents to opt out of the release of information to military recruiters and colleges, rather than requiring students’ and parents’ explicit permission before schools can release personal information. The change allows the school district to release high school students’ names, home addresses, and telephone numbers.
   Prior to approving the changes, the board did not publicly engage in debate or discussion of threats or potential harm to students that could result from the release of their personal information.

Carbs on Cliff

Rest assured there will be no shortage of doughnuts in Eagan as Tim Hortons prepares to open on Cliff Road. The store recently advertised a job fair.

Financial advisor charged with tax crimes

     An Inver Grove Heights investment advisor and his wife have been charged with failing to pay income taxes.
     Timothy O’Brien, 58, and his wife, Sharon Murphy O’Brien, 57, of 8560 Ann Marie Trail, Inver Grove Heights, have been charged with eight felony counts related to failure to file and pay income taxes, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint. The couple was charged with four counts of failure to file a tax return and four counts of failure to pay taxes. Prosecutors allege the O’Briens failed to file and pay state income tax returns between 2013 and 2016.
   O’Brien has worked as a financial advisor at the Inver Grove Heights firm Feltl & Co. since 2012, according to FINRA, the federal regulatory agency.
     Prosecutors allege the couple owed more than $55,000 in taxes for the four-year period. O’Brien allegedly earned about $90,000 per year while Murphy allegedly earned about $27,000 working at a local call center, according to the criminal complaint.

APC approves self-storage plan

EAGAN, MN – The Advisory Planning Commission approved a request for a three-story self-storage building at 4101 Nichols Road.
   The commission voted unanimously to approve a request to divide the property into two lots and assign a zoning designation of retail commercial to the property.  The property, near Highway 77, was formerly a state highway right-of-way. No residents opposed the request. The proposal is scheduled for the Sept. 17 Eagan City Council meeting.

Woman assaulted at carnival

Leigh Monson reviews Juliet, Naked
BURNSVILLE --  A carnival worker at a recent Burnsville fair has been charged with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting a woman as she exited a ride.
   Louis Omar Maldonado, 28, address unknown, was charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.  The charge stems from a Sept. 1 report to Burnsville police of a sexual assault during a city fair at Burnsville Center.
   The victim reported she was exiting the “G Force” carnival ride when the attendant grabbed her. Police found Maldonado based on the victim’s description. Maldonado allegedly confirmed he was the operator of the ride and had contact with the victim, according to police.