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Alert Issued for Missing Southern Minnesota Kids

(Austin, MN) – The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as issued an alert for five children missing in Southern Minnesota.

According to the Mower County Sheriff’s Office, 10-year-old Mateo Cooley and 11-year-old Mollycia Cooley and 16-year-old Morgan Cooley were last seen around 10:30pm Saturday night in Rose Creek, which is a small town about 6 miles southeast of Austin.

The other two, 13-year-old Mojo and 17-year-old Marco were not seen but it is possible all five are traveling with their mother, 39-year-old Izetta Cooley.

Izetta Cooley is court ordered not to have contact with the children and because of recent events authorities are concerned for their welfare.

Izetta Cooley is 5’04”, 180 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Izetta’s residence is in Moorhead, but it is unclear where they may be heading. It is possible they are staying in a hotel.

They are believed to be traveling in a black 2007 Suzuki XL7 with MN license plate 103WJC.

If you think you have seen the Cooley children or have info regarding their whereabouts please contact the Mower County SO at 507-437-9400 or dial 911.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Safe to Drink, But May Stain: Mankato Begins Water Main Flushing

(Mankato, MN) – The city of Mankato will start its annual fall flushing of water mains Sunday night and you’ll want to avoid doing laundry when it’s happening in your neighborhood.

During the flushing, residents are advised to avoid or limit water usage. Officials say the water is safe to drink, but may cause staining and it’s best to allow at least one hour after the flushing for the water to clear.

Flushing hours are scheduled from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily from September 30th to October 5th.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Photo credit: Craighton Miller/Flickr.

Truman Man Pleads Guilty for Assaulting Man with MS in North Mankato Parking Dispute

(North Mankato, MN) – A 42-year-old man from Truman has pleaded guilty for punching a man with multiple sclerosis in a dispute over a handicapped parking spot.

Bill Lundin will be sentenced for 3rd Degree Assault on October 30th.

According to police, Lundin parked in a handicapped spot at a convenience store in North Mankato on November 10, 2017. A man with MS pulled up behind Lundin’s car and rolled down his van window and told Lundin not to park there. Lundin then allegedly got out of his vehicle, told the victim to “mind his own business” and hit him in the mouth.

The responding officer found the victim bleeding heavily from the mouth and arranged for him to be brought to the hospital.  The victim had part of his lip torn off and needed seven stitches to reattach it.

When Lundin was questioned, he said he “accidentally” parked in the handicapped spot, and hit the victim after the victim swung at him first, but missed.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Mentally Ill & Dangerous: Search Continues for Escaped St. Peter Patient

(Fairmont, MN) – The search continues for a patient at the St. Peter State Hospital, who has now been on the lam for nearly a week.

Authorities say 50-year-old Phillip Horswell was on a weekend pass at a residence in rural Martin County when he disappeared last Sunday, September 23rd. Evidence shows he took his clothes and medicine and left the home – and then went to his residence in Dunnell and took off in his truck.

Horswell was committed to the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center as “mentally ill and dangerous” in 2010. This after he shot in the direction of police officers who responded to a disturbance at his residence, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid type, with
polysubstance abuse.

The court also determined there was “a substantial likelihood that he would engage in future acts that were capable of inflicting serious physical harm to others.”

Horswell claimed he only fired the gun to test it for a broken pin.

In Horswell’s commitment as mentally ill and dangerous, the court also based its conclusion on previous findings that he treated his father in a threatening manner and drove around with a shotgun in his vehicle.

Anyone with possible information on Horswell’s whereabouts should contact the Martin County Sheriff’s Office at 507-238-4481.

Because he absconded while on the pass, Horswell is now facing a new criminal charge of felony escape.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Sentenced: Mankato Man Who Molested Young Girl

(Mankato, MN) – A 64-year-old Mankato man who molested a young girl has been sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct.

Michael Joseph Hernandez was given 180 days in jail, with credit for the 117 days he already served. Hernandez was also fined $5,000 and must register as a predatory offender.

According to the complaint, there were several separate incidents of abuse dating back to 2016. Among them, Hernandez allegedly kissed the girl repeatedly, put his hands down her pants and forced her to take off her blouse. The young victim showed police what happened using anatomy dolls.

The case came to light when the girl was brought to a counselor because she had become increasing sad and emotional.

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Charges: Mankato Woman Assaults Husband, Threatens to Damage His “Equipment”

(Mankato, MN) – A 57-year-old Mankato woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly attacking her husband.

Laura Hickey is charged with two counts of domestic assault for the incident on August 30th.

According to the complaint, the victim called police to report that his wife was hitting him and had threatened to damage his “equipment.” He said she had hit him in the head, stomach and the groin area. The victim also told police that she had been violent with him in the past, but this was the first time that he reported it.

The responding officer says Hickey said she had kicked the victim in the stomach and tried to grab his groin.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Frost Advisory for Mankato, Much of Southern Minnesota

(Mankato, MN) – With the coldest overnight temps of the season predicted, the National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for early Saturday for a large part of Southern Minnesota, including Mankato.

NWS says the low in the area will drop to around 34 degrees, with areas of frost possible between 4am and 7am Saturday.

For the northern two-thirds of the state and reaching as far south as Rochester, a freeze warning has been issued with temps expected to fall into the upper 20s in places.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Save the Date: Pumpkin Smash in New Ulm is October 20th

(New Ulm, MN) – The sure signs of fall are starting to emerge in Southern Minnesota: the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures and the quickly approaching Pumpkin Smash 2018.

The 2nd Annual Fall Demo Derby known as Pumpkin Smash will be held at the Brown County Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 20th.

There were 93 registered vehicles for the first annual Pumpkin Smash in 2017 and organizers say they’re expecting even more this year. In addition to the various classes of cars, there will also be a Kids Power Wheel kicking off the action at 12:30pm that day.

Grandstand tickets are $12 per person and kids 6 & under are free.

More information is available here.

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(Copyright© 2018 Southern Minnesota Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Pedestrian Killed in New Ulm Was 70-Year-Old Man

(New Ulm, MN) – The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating a Wednesday morning crash in New Ulm that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

According to the New Ulm Police Department, 70-year-old Roger Saxton of New Ulm was struck just after 6:30am 12th South Street and Broadway. Life saving measures were attempted, but Saxtin ultimately died at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver of the vehicle involved has been identified as 20-year-old Blake Jarve of New Ulm.

Upon completion of the State Patrol’s investigation, the report will be reviewed by the Brown County Attorney’s Office, which is standard procedure.

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Speed Limit Rising to 60 MPH on More Area Highways

(Mankato, MN) – Nine more two-lane highway segments in south central Minnesota will have speed limit increases from 55 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour by the end of the year.

The sections of highway which will have increased speed limits are:

  • Highway 4 from I-90 (Sherburn) to Sleepy Eye
  • Highway 14 from Highway 71 to New Ulm
  • Highway 15 from the Iowa border to Winthrop
  • Highway 19 from Fairfax to Gaylord
  • Highway 19 east of New Prague to Highway 13
  • Highway 22 from Iowa border to Mankato
  • Highway 59 from Iowa to Highway 60
  • Highway 62 from Fulda to Windom
  • Highway 109 from Wells to Alden

The new speed limits will be effective when the new signs are posted.

A number of other area highways had their limits raised to 60 mph over the last two years.

The increases are based on a traffic and engineering investigation of each highway, which looks at past crash history, physical attributes of the highway such as shoulder widths and access points, and what speed drivers are currently driving.

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Photo credit: Ron Miguel/Flickr.