Gwen Butcher, 33, was taken into custody Tuesday night and charged with second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting kidnapping in connection with the death of Christopher Rossing, who went missing last August in Howard Lake, Minn.
Butcher's boyfriend Robert Nuttall, 28, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder after only having been charged with murder in the second-degree in January. The grand jury heard from 23 witnesses in deciding to indict Nuttall with first-degree murder on Wednesday.
Rossing was last seen leaving Troubles Bar on Aug. 22, 2014 in Howard Lake. His car was found a few blocks away with the keys still inside, but there was no sign of him.
Rossing and Nuttall first met and had drinks together at the American Legion in Howard Lake. The two were later involved in a fight at 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 23 along Highway 12 west of town.
According to a Wright County criminal complaint, Nuttall and Rossing had argued on-and-off at the Legion over a woman Rossing ultimately left with to Trouble's Bar that night. Trouble's is where Nuttall later showed up, arguing with Butcher.
Butcher told police that Nuttall severely beat Rossing after Rossing came after him along Highway 12. Nuttall then sat Rossing in the backseat of their Ford Expedition on their way home, and Butcher noticed Rossing wasn't moving. Nuttall then dropped Butcher off and later claimed to have taken Rossing home.
Discovery of bone fragments
Butcher, while out on bond, was staying at the farmhouse on 150th Street when she called police on volunteer searchers getting close to her property on Oct. 11. Those searchers came across bone fragments in a cornfield just south of Butcher's property. Wright County investigators were called to the scene and collected multiple bone fragments spread out across 100 yards of the unharvested cornfield.
Most of the bone fragments collected were found between a grass ditch and the first few rows of corn directly across from the driveway to Butcher's property. The fire pit that was searched on the property is located 60 to 80 yards from where the bone fragments were collected.
On Oct. 13, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the bone fragments collected had evidence of fresh bone burning. The bones analyzed by the medical examiner appeared to be from a human skull, toe, foot, spine and hip. Since the bones were burned, DNA could not be extracted.
Search warrant details gruesome discovery in fire pit
A search warrant obtained by Fox 9 News detailed a grisly discovery in a fire pit south of Hutchinson, Minn. On Oct. 13, officers executed a search warrant at the property shared by Butcher and Nuttall.
The search came two days after volunteers found bone fragments scattered in a cornfield across the street.
Evidence recovered from fire pit:
- Knife inside of a garbage bag
- Several keys on a keychain
- Multiple possible bone fragments
- Ice chipper
- Cell phone SIM card
- Soil sample
According to charges, the teeth fragments were not positively identified, but were "consistent" with Rossing's records. Plus, charges say Butcher saw Nuttall next to a fire in her fire pit the night Rossing vanished.