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Grand Jury Indicts Man In Kidnapping, Murder Of 5-Year-Old Girl

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A grand jury Friday indicted the man accused of kidnapping and murdering a 5-year-old Watkins girl in August.

A Cass County grand jury indicted 25-year-old Zachary Todd Anderson on 19 counts in connection with the death of Alayna Ertl.

According to the criminal complaint, Anderson spent the night at the Ertls' home Aug. 19 after playing softball with Alayna's father. Alayna's parents reported her missing the morning of Aug. 20. The Ertls also reported their vehicle missing.

On a tip from Anderson's father, police found Anderson in his family's cabin 80 miles from Watkins. They also found the Ertls' vehicle there, according to the complaint.

Anderson led police to Alayna's body, the complaint states. The complaint also states Anderson sexually assaulted the girl.

The indictment includes eight counts of first degree murder, one count of second degree intentional murder, four counts of kidnapping, two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of interference with a dead body.

Bail was set $3 million or $1.5 million with conditions. Anderson's next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2016.

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