May 25, 2024

Elbow Lake, Dalton women charged with third degree murder

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An Elbow Lake woman, Rachel Rae MacMillan, 24, and a Dalton woman, Montana Evelyn Marie Hedstrom, 30, were charged with third degree murder in District Court, in Elbow Lake last Monday.

According to the complaint filed in District Court, the two women sold drugs to Jonathan Murtland, 27, Elbow Lake, that contributed to his death on or about March 2, 2021.

According to the criminal complaint, on March 2, 2021, at approximately 6:45 p.m., Alfred Murtland called the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and reported that his son, Jonathan Murtland, was unconscious and not breathing at their residence, located at 312 6th Ave SE, Elbow Lake, MN. At approximately 6:48 p.m., Deputy Tony Onstad and Deputy Troy Langlie arrived at the Murtland residence, along with a first responder. Law enforcement observed that Murtland was on his bed and his face and lips were purple. Murtland’s mouth and eyes were closed and he was not breathing. Lifesaving measures were attempted and Murtland was transported to Prairie Ridge Hospital. 

Deputy Onstad observed, on a dresser in Murtland’s room, several hypodermic syringes and a clear plastic baggy with two rock-like objects in it. These items were seized by law enforcement. 

Law enforcement then proceeded to Prairie Ridge Hospital, where they learned that Murtland had a pulse and was going to be airlifted to another facility for treatment. 

At approximately 9:45 p.m., Deputy Langlie field tested the rock-like substances and they tested positive for fentanyl, a Schedule I Controlled Substance. On March 5, 2021, Alfred Murtland gave Deputy Langlie several more items he said were found in Murtland’s room, including more needles and several vials of naloxone. 

On March 3, 2021, Deputy Jon Danner spoke with Alfred Murtland, who said that Jonathan Murtland was currently on life support. Alfred also told Deputy Danner that he had viewed some text messages on Murtland’s phone that indicate that Murtland was buying drugs from Montana Hedstrom and Rachel MacMillan. 

On March 4, 2021, Alfred Murtland and his family came to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office to speak to Deputy Danner. At that time, Deputy Danner learned that the decision had been made to take Murtland off life support, but at that time he was still on life support to keep his organs viable if donation was possible. Alfred said that one of the doctors said that Murtland had opiates in his system, and Murtland has been known to use heroin. Alfred then turned Murtland’s phone over to Deputy Danner. 

Deputy Danner viewed text messages from Murtland’s phone that had been forwarded to his sister’s phone. On March 2, 2021, Murtland exchanged text messages with the telephone number that Alfred has in his phone as belonging to Montana Hedstrom and Rachel MacMillan.

The texts included the following: 

Hedstrom and MacMillan: We have a lot on us already so if you can get 500 we can sell you 500 worth right away if you can drive to us. 

(They then appear to make arrangements to meet in Alexandria on March 2, 2021.) 

Hedstrom and MacMillan: No one has any part in your heroin addiction especially me or Rachel. Only yourself. In fact it is ridiculous how many times you whine about using, then you lie about using when you blame all types of other people and things for being the reason you get high. 

Murtland: Wish I could get high though. I am going to cash my school retirement for chunky.  

On May 15, 2021, Deputy Jennifer Vipond met with a known anonymous person, hereinafter KA1, who stated that Montana Hedstrom and Rachel MacMillan contributed to Murtland’s death as they sold heroin/fentanyl to Murtland and he overdosed. KA1 said Hedstrom is scared and worried because Murtland’s phone has “everything” on it and the police have it. KA1 said Hedstrom and MacMillan sell heroin and they pick up between four and seven grams at a time from the Twin Cities, as often as every day, depending on their financial situation.

Video evidence was obtained from the Alexandria, MN Walmart which depicts Murtland talking to people  in a white Jeep at approximately 4:25 p.m. on March 2, 2021. The passenger of the white Jeep appears to match the description of Rachel MacMillan. Verizon cell phone mapping indicated that MacMillan and Murtland were both in the vicinity of the Alexandria, MN Walmart at 4:23 p.m. on March 2, 2021. 

Murtland returned to his residence in Elbow Lake at approximately 5:38 p.m. on March 2, 2021. 

In a text message to KA1, Hedstrom admits that she sold the drugs to Murtland. 

A review of Murtland’s death certificate indicates that he died from the toxic effects of fentanyl. 

On February 11, 2022, Hedstrom was interviewed at the Douglas County Jail and she admitted to using heroin with Murtland in the past. Hedstrom said the drug exchange on March 2, 2021, was between MacMillan and Murtland. Hedstrom said she was in the back seat of the Jeep when it took place. 

On February 11, 2022, MacMillan was interviewed at the Otter Tail County Jail and she admitted that a drug exchange did occur on March 2, 2021 with Murtland. 

MacMillan and Hedstrom made their first court appearance on Feb. 15 and will next appear on Feb. 24. 

Murder in the Third Degree is described as: Whoever, without intent to cause death, proximately causes the death of a human being by, directly, or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing, or administering a controlled substance classified in schedule I or II, is guilty of murder on the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $40,000, or both.

MacMillan is being held in the Otter Tail County Jail in Fergus Falls, and Hedstrom in the Douglas County Jail in Alexandria.

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