Man arrested in connection with discovery of missing woman’s body

SWATARA– The Aitkin County Sheriff’s office made an arrest in connection with the discovery of a missing Cass County woman’s body.

According to the release, 35-year-old Michelle Mae of Outing was reported missing on Oct. 3, and her Jeep was found a day later in Swatara.

During the missing person investigation, 34-year-old Joshua Emil Karjala of Swatara was arrested on a probation violation and has been in custody since Oct. 5.

Joshua Karjala, 34, Swatara. Photo courtesy of the Aitkin County Sheriff Office

Mae’s body was found Tuesday on a rural property in Swatara, where Karjala lived.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s preliminary findings conclude that the likely cause of Mae’s death was homicide.

Toxiciology reports are pending.

The efforts to find Mae’s body included daily ground searches, as well as K9, drone and water searches.

Karjala has not yet been formally charged, but the investigation has been forwarded to the Aitkin County Attorney’s Office.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.

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