VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) — An Indiana man pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing his girlfriend whose wrapped and bound body was found in a shallow grave in northern Minnesota last year.
Daniel Lynn, 40, of South Bend, Indiana, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder without intent while committing a felony. A second count of intentional second-degree murder was dropped as part of a plea deal, KBJR-TV reported.
Lynn was charged in the death of 28-year-old Christina Woods, also of South Bend. Woods’ remains were discovered last July on property owned by a family member of Lynn’s near Cook, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Duluth.
Under questioning by the prosecution, Lynn admitted travelling with Woods to his family’s farmhouse on June 12, 2018. Lynn also admitted he strangled Woods at the farmhouse.
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According to the complaint, Woods’ stepfather received a text message from her phone on June 13 saying she was in trouble and needed to be picked up. Two hours later, he received a text from the same number saying Woods was fine.
Phone records showed Woods was in the Eveleth, Minnesota, area around June 12. When authorities checked Lynn’s family property, they found the lawn was freshly mowed and saw bleach and other cleaning materials.
Lynn told investigators he was at his family’s property in June to open the cabin for the rest of his family but denied knowing where Woods was or having anything to do with her disappearance. Investigators found a fire pit on the property that included metal buttons from jeans and a necklace. Woods’ body was found, wrapped and bound, in a fresh grave.
A Crime Stoppers tip to law enforcement in Indiana said Lynn and his wife were packing to leave the area, and that Lynn had said he had killed someone but that the body would not be located, according to the complaint. Lynn’s wife told investigators that her husband had strangled Woods and that she saw it, the complaint said.
Lynn later was captured in a campground near Edwardsburg, Michigan. The St. Louis County Attorney’s office says Lynn is expected to receive a 16-year sentence when he is sentenced Feb. 25.
Lynn’s attorney did not immediately return a phone message for comment Wednesday.