Charges expected Thursday in murder of Floodwood womanCristyna Watson likely was killed for her car, according to court records and a search warrant filed in St. Paul.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
An accused Native Mob gang member could be charged Thursday with the murder of Cristyna Watson, a 25-year-old Floodwood woman who was missing for nearly a month when her body was found a week ago outside Cloquet.
Michael William Siewert, 22, of Duluth, was taken into custody six hours before police discovered Watson’s body on Oct. 4. Although police cited him as a suspect in Watson’s death, Siewert was arraigned Friday afternoon in connection with another crime: the nonfatal shooting in August of a suspected fellow Native Mob gang member.
Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler said Wednesday he plans to file murder charges against Siewert today.
“Things have been evolving as the investigation has continued,” Pertler said Wednesday afternoon. “You have to take your time and look at everything, so you can come to the right conclusion — the right people and the right charges.”
Because Siewert is in custody on $150,000 bail, the county attorney’s office did not have to meet the usual three-day deadline to file charges.
Watson likely was killed for her car, according to court records and a search warrant filed in St. Paul. The car was found outside a Ramsey County bar, according to the search warrant filed Monday.
According to Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande, Siewert’s girlfriend was booked on unrelated charges in the Carlton County Jail and provided details on how Watson was killed.
The woman said in an Oct. 3 interview at the jail that she had last seen Siewert with Watson’s 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix on Sept. 29. He told her at the time that he had traded an “ounce of dope” for the car and her phone, police reported.
The girlfriend said that after repeated questions about Watson, Siewert admitted to luring Watson to a garage to get some drugs and then hit her twice on the head with a hammer to take her car, court records said. Watson survived the blows, the woman said, so Siewert choked her and then dumped her body in a swampy area in the woods off Reservation Road in Carlton County, the report says.
Court records said Watson’s car was involved in a gas drive-off Sept. 29 in Hinckley. The girlfriend was identified in a surveillance video from the gas station. The driver of the car was not caught on camera but the woman admitted she had been with Siewert.
The girlfriend had Watson’s cell phone when she was later jailed, police said.
Watson’s car was spotted at a casino in a suburb south of Minneapolis and police eventually talked to the woman seen driving it. They said she admitted to trading two ounces of methamphetamine with Siewert for the car. She said she felt bad about having the car, police said, so she abandoned it at a bar in Newport, a city just southeast of St. Paul.
When asked last week whether he was sure the right person was in custody in the case, Lamirande said statements made during the investigation led to Siewert. He was arrested at 11 a.m. Oct. 4 and Watson’s body was recovered at 5 p.m.