Murder charges: Rochester man wrapped woman's body in tarp, dumped her in field

A Rochester man faces felony charges for allegedly providing drugs to a woman who apparently overdosed and proceeded to conceal her body in a tarp and dispose of it in a remote location in Olmsted County. 

Timothy Loftus, 41, was charged Thursday with third-degree murder and interference with a dead body by concealing for his alleged involvement in the death of 28-year-old Tia Mercedes Arleth in June.

Loftus is accused of providing Arleth with fentanyl on May 29, which led to her death. The medical examiner said Arleth’s body was in an advanced state of decomposition, so her cause of death was undetermined. However, the postmortem tests showed fentanyl in her system, according to court documents. 

Eleven days after she died, prosecutors suggested Loftus allegedly drove out to a remote area of Olmsted County and used a dolly cart to move her body into the field. Nearly a week later, on June 17, a man mowing the lawn found a blue tarp covered with rope and duct tape in the grass. He lifted a portion of the tarp and saw a human body, the complaint states.

Police talked to a witness who claimed he saw the blue tarp at Loftus’s residence in a trailer near the sidewalk. The witness said he went to Loftus’s house, who shared that Arleth overdosed from taking heroin and fentanyl he provided. Loftus allegedly told the witness her body was in the trailer, according to the complaint. 

During the investigation, police obtained footage from a nearby doorbell camera which shows on the morning of June 9, there was a white trailer in front of Loftus’s home with a blue tarp consistent with the one Arleth’s body was wrapped in. 

The footage shows after approximately 30 minutes, Loftus’s vehicle was hooked up to the trailer and returned about 90 minutes later without the blue tarp, according to court documents.

Police interviewed another witness who claimed he noticed a dolly cart was missing from Loftus’s home. The witness said he had previously used that dolly cart and confirmed the dolly cart located near Arleth's body had belonged to Loftus, the complaint states.

On June 17, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Loftus’s residence and found what they said was duct tape and rope that matched the color and type found on Arleth’s body in his garage, according to the complaint. 

Additionally, police claim location data from Loftus’s phone put him in the area where Arleth’s body was for approximately 9-10 minutes on June 9. 

Loftus is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday morning.