October 27, 2021

Military Vet Richard Melvin Peterson Arrested for Homicide of Amanda Jo Vangrinsven in Isanti

4 min read

On Aug. 5, Amanda Jo Vangrinsven disappeared.

That evening, Vangrinsven, 32, was seen consuming with Richard Melvin Peterson, 37, on the Isanti, Minnesota VFW corridor the place she tended bar, and the place Peterson reportedly served in a “management place.” However Vangrinsven had had an excessive amount of to drink, according to an unsealed search warrant obtained by The Daily Beast, and Peterson advised her buddies he would drive her house.

As an alternative, Peterson and Vangrinsven wound up at The Dugout Bar and Grill, about quarter-hour away. Witnesses would later inform police that Vangrinsven appeared “noticeably intoxicated.”

“Amanda and Rick mutually confirmed a public show of affections as they kissed each other, sat shut to 1 one other, whereas Amanda rubbed Rick’s leg and the within of his thigh and whereas Rick rubbed Amanda’s again below her shirt and put his fingers down Amanda’s pants touching her buttocks together with his hand,” the warrant states. Quite a few workers supplied to drive her again to her home. Nonetheless, Peterson—who’s married— allegedly insisted he would do it, which reportedly left others uneasy. When Vangrinsven failed to indicate up for work the morning of Aug. 6, her co-workers known as police.

On Aug. 7, cops and volunteers started to grid-search the encircling space for any indicators of Vangrinsven, with no luck. However investigators quickly turned suspicious of Peterson, who gave police conflicting tales in regards to the evening in query. Three days later, a multiagency job drive descended on a 20-acre property owned by Peterson, in keeping with the warrant, which cites the VFW supervisor as saying Peterson as being vulnerable to “temper swings when he drinks.”

“Quite a few areas of floor had been disturbed the day after Amanda’s disappearance,” it explains, including that Peterson advised investigators to “test the pond.”

“Lieutenant McCarty continued to unearth the damaged sod and floor and found two white footwear,” states the warrant, which describes a workforce effort between native legislation enforcement, the FBI, and the Minnesota Bureau of Felony Apprehension. They “requested that earth be excavated across the footwear to verify a physique existed,” the warrant explains. “In doing so, the footwear have been connected to ft which have been connected to leg exhibiting jean shorts and clothes matching Amanda’s. The continued excavation across the physique led to the visible affirmation that the physique was the particular person of Amanda Vangrinsven.”

Peterson’s spouse Anna advised police that “she was second guessing her husband and did not know if she was secure,” the warrant states. “She additionally advised me she did not know if Rick can be secure from himself.”

Peterson swiftly checked himself right into a Veterans Affairs psychiatric facility in St. Cloud, roughly an hour’s drive away. Within the meantime, a preliminary examination by the medical expert’s workplace of Vangrinsven’s physique revealed “a projectile, in keeping with a bullet, lodged within the cranium.” Police seized from Peterson’s house, amongst different issues, a number of firearms, a John Deere backhoe, varied electronics, a pocket book utilized by Peterson, and “tarps and canvas which could possibly be used to assist in overlaying or transferring a human physique.”

On Tuesday, he was arrested on a probable cause murder hold. He has not but been formally charged.

Peterson’s spouse, who’s licensed as a registered nurse in keeping with public information, didn’t reply to The Every day Beast’s requests for remark, however issued a press release to media shops that stated, “My heartfelt sympathy and prayers exit to Amanda’s household and buddies. The person who she was final seen with is now not locally and is being held in a locked psychological well being facility. I’m actively cooperating and can proceed to cooperate with all law-enforcement companies. I please request privateness for my household and myself.”

An worker who answered the telephone at Isanti VFW Put up 2735, the place Peterson labored, declined to remark. A hostess at The Dugout advised The Every day Beast that her boss advised the workers to not say something in regards to the case, however stated, “Proper now, our ideas are with the household,” rapidly including, “The sufferer’s household.”

A GoFundMe drive to lift cash for the search brought in more than $10,000.

The Vangrinsven household on Tuesday issued a press release, saying, “There is no such thing as a strategy to know the proper strategy to navigate such sudden and horrific occasions. The grief is overwhelming and the unanswered questions and inflow of knowledge much more so. Our gratitude can’t be expressed sufficient and our silence to media and social media is just not as a consequence of an absence of appreciation however relatively a drive to ensure that we by no means intervene with what we hope will deliver solutions and justice. We do not have solutions. And we are going to by no means have the reply we hoped to have; that she was discovered alive… We would like solutions. We would like justice. We would like the one that did this to Amanda be held to the best degree of accountability.”

Vangrinsven’s household, Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk, and Isanti Police Chief Travis Muyres didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark, and authorities haven’t revealed a potential motive. Different legislation enforcement companies helping with the investigation embrace the Anoka County Sheriff’s Workplace and the Minnesota Division of Pure Sources.

Peterson stays in custody, according to jail records. He doesn’t have a lawyer listed in courtroom filings, and was unable to be reached for remark.

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