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Police identify body, have suspect in custody

Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande confirmed this afternoon that the body discovered Thursday evening at a residence on Cloquet's Reservation Road was a missing Floodwood woman.

Cristyna Waston poster
Cristyna Watson's mother made this poster after her daughter went missing in September.

Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande confirmed this afternoon that the body discovered Thursday evening at a residence on Cloquet's Reservation Road was a missing Floodwood woman.

Cristyna Watson, 25, was last seen at her home in Floodwood Sept. 8, and the last time a family member spoke to Watson was Sept. 12. The cause of death, according to Lamirande, was "homicidal violence." He declined to provide any further details of the cause of death, other than to say she was not shot.

Police believe they have the killer in custody, he said, naming Michael William Siewert, 22, of Duluth, as the suspect in the case. Siewert - who police believe is a member of the Native Mob gang - was taken into custody at 11 a.m. Thursday morning and arraigned this afternoon in connection with the August shooting of Stephen James Smith, 19, also believed to be a member of the Native Mob, according to the criminal complaint against him in that case. Smith was shot in the foot on Aug. 24 as punishment "for certain gang related activity," the complaint said.

Siewert, 22, has been charged in that case with second-degree assault in a crime committed for the benefit of a gang and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler said he expects to file charges against Siewert in relation to the Watson case next week, but is awaiting paperwork regarding the case from the investigating agencies.

Paul Gherardi, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent in charge, said law enforcement officials went to the residence (on the 200 block of Reservation Road) with a search warrant Thursday.

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"Through the investigation we learned of that address and we were searching for the victim," he said, when asked if police went to search for the body. "Let's leave it at that."

Lamirande said Siewert and Watson were "acquainted."

Although the Ramsay County Medical Examiner officially identified Watson's body today (Friday), her mother, Laurie Snaza, learned that her missing daughter was dead Thursday evening when police came to her home in Floodwood, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Lamirande declined to answer questions regarding the condition of the body, and said officials were not certain how long Watson had been dead.

"We can only speculate," he said. "Going back to the time she was reported missing, until the body was discovered at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday."

Friday morning the residence on Reservation Road was surrounded by law enforcement vehicles, representing the BCA, St. Louis County Sheriff's Department (which had K9 units there) and Fond du Lac police. Other agencies participating in the investigation included both the Cloquet and Floodwood police departments.

Lamirande said the suspect, Siewert, did not reside at the Reservation Road address, but he did occasionally stay there. When asked if the two residents know that Watson had been killed he did not answer, noting that the investigation was ongoing.

Lamirande said police did not believe Watson was a member of Native Mob and he declined to comment on any possible motive for her killing.

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"We believe the incident was not a random act, and we do not feel the public is in any danger," he said. However, in response to questions, he did admit that local law enforcement agencies have seen an increase in the number and violence of gang-related crimes in the area.

Related Topics: CLOQUETCRIME
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