BUFFALO, Minn. (KMSP) - Three suspects have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Cheyenne Clough, who was shot in the back of the head, found badly beaten and barely alive outside of Crow Springs Park in Wright County on June 1.
Justin Jensen, 28, of Maple Lake, Edward Zelko, 26, of Buffalo and Shawn Benson, 21, of Buffalo were all charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday in Wright County. Jensen and Zelko were charged with aiding and abetting the murder.
Initially, two persons of interest were named in the case, Jensen, and Natasha Brandenburger, 33. Both were arrested near International Falls on Sunday, along with 19-year-old Callie Anderson of Delano and Benson. Zelko was arrested while driving around Staples. Anderson and Brandenburger haven’t been charged, but were booked into the Wright County Jail on Tuesday.
"We believe they were heading to Canada," Wright County attorney Tom Kelly said on Wednesday. "The murder of Cheyenne Clough was planned and deliberate."
According to the criminal complaint:
Residents living near the park believe they heard gunshots and a woman screaming in the early morning of June 1.
Benson, Jensen, Zelko, Brandenburger and Anderson were with Clough at her house in Maple Lake, where officers found a bullet that was fired into the wall and casings similar to those recovered from Clough’s body.
Brandenburger told police she and Clough had gotten into an argument about somebody calling a bounty hunter and having Clough's boyfriend arrested on an outstanding warrant. Clough apparently said she'd call police about Anderson's own outstanding warrant. At some point, Brandenburger and Clough got into a physical altercation and Jensen said Clough had to be killed.
Jensen stole a .22 caliber handgun from a residence in Delano, gave the gun to Benson and Zelko on June 1, who later told Jensen they had killed her. Brandenburger told police Benson shot her, and Jensen discarded the gun in a river near International Falls.
A local International Falls man, Thomas Nicholson, 26, was charged earlier this week and is accused of aiding the suspects.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said Clough, the mother of a 3-year-old, died from multiple gunshot wounds. She died Saturday at North Memorial.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to for Clough, and proceeds will go to her 3-year-old son: https://www.gofundme.com/27sc3n64