Woman, adult son charged with 2013 murder of father in Elko New Market

A woman and her adult son are charged in the murder of their husband and father the family’s home in Elko New Market, Minnesota in 2013 and dumping his body in western Wisconsin, where it was not discovered for several years. 

Connie Herbst, 62, and Austin Herbst, 26, both of New Prague, were charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in connection with the death of Gary Herbst. 

Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar confirmed to FOX 9 that after being arrested Thursday morning, Austin admitted to killing his father, claiming it was in response to abuse toward his mother.

The Midwest Medical Examiner determined Gary died of a gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a homicide. 

According to the charges, Gary had been missing since July 6, 2013. However, Connie did not file a police report for an entire year, only doing so at the suggestion of Gary’s brother.  

Skeletal remains discovered in Barron County in December 2017 were positively identified this year as belonging to Gary. The Midwest Medical Examiner determined Gary died of a gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a homicide. 

Investigators interviewed Connie and Austin several times over the last year. They told police Gary had come home one day, packed some clothing, taken $5,000 in cash and left in a vehicle driven by an unknown person. They said they had not heard from him since. 

Both Connie and Austin told investigators that Gary was verbally and physically abusive, particularly toward Connie. 

Connie and Austin moved to New Prague sometime in the last seven years. In June of this year, investigators interviewed some of their old neighbors in Elko New Market, who recalled that sometime in 2013, they saw the mother and son carry a large, rolled-up item from the basement and put it into the back of Gary’s pickup truck. They also saw them through the window cleaning and scrubbing the basement floor and the front of the glass on the patio door. 

Investigators got permission from the new owners of the former Herbst home in Elko New Market to search the house. There, they found indications of human decomposition as well as evidence of blood in the basement and garage.  

Connie and Austin were arrested on Thursday.