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Woman charged with stabbing, killing 76-year-old Faribault man

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Feb. 24, 2024
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Feb. 24, 2024 01:17

FARIBAULT, Minn. — A 32-year-old woman faces charges for allegedly killing 76-year-old Gary Lehmeyer earlier this month in Faribault.

Arlene Bell was charged with one count of second-degree murder in Rice County. She was also accused earlier this week of stealing Lehmeyer's vehicle, after she was pulled over for a traffic stop in Iowa.

Lehmeyer's body was found on Feb. 5. Police were conducing a welfare check, and discovered he had been stabbed several times, strangled, and had his ankles bound.

According to the Rice County attorney, Bell told officers that she had been living with Lehmeyer, and had gone upstairs to check on him after she heard something fall on the floor. She said she noticed red bullets at his feet, though did not notice any guns. 

The two got in a physical fight, though Lehmeyer had a physical disability and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's dementia more than a decade ago, the attorney's office said.

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Officials say Bell stabbed Lehmeyer repeatedly, and used a knife to "saw at his wrists." Bell told investigators that he strangled her and threw a dehumidifier at her and choked her with the cord. She then added that she was able to cut the cord from the dehumidifier. At this point, she said Lehmeyer was bleeding and spitting blood. She said she bound his feet together because she was afraid he would regain consciousness and kill her.

The Rice County Attorney's office says she told investigators that she then went through Lehmeyer's belongings and then took his van, heading south towards Mexico.

An Iowa state trooper pulled Bell over that same day west of Des Moines, suspecting that she was under the influence of narcotics. She later admitted she had taken meth a couple of days previously and was 'coming down" from it, officials said.

She has been held at the Dallas County, Iowa jail since her Feb. 5 arrest on one count of motor vehicle theft. The Rice County Attorney's Office says her extradition process should begin in a few days so she can face both the theft and second-degree murder charge in Minnesota.

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