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Woman linked in South Dakota homicide makes 1st appearance on charge of child endangerment

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GRANITE FALLS — The woman who has allegedly admitted to disposing of the bodies of two of her infant children in eastern South Dakota made her first court appearance Wednesday on a child endangerment charge stemming from a gun incident at her home in August.

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Kelly Anderson-Person, 34, most recently of Clarkfield and formerly of Hendricks, faces a gross misdemeanor charge of child endangerment in Yellow Medicine County for allegedly pointing a gun at her head this summer while she held her 9-month-old child. The incident happened at her home in Clarkfield where law enforcement officers from South Dakota were questioning her about the remains of the two infants.

Their deaths are being investigated as homicides.

Anderson-Person appeared Wednesday in Yellow Medicine County District Court, and unconditional bail was set at $6,000, according to Yellow Medicine Assistant County Attorney Stacy Vinberg. Anderson-Person accepted the conditions of conditional bail, including that she have no contact with a child and obey the conditions of a domestic abuse no-contact order, and she was released on her personal recognizance, Vinberg said.

No further hearing dates have been set, according to the court file.

Anderson-Person was committed to in-patient mental health care in August and the complaint notes that her expected release date from the Minnesota Specialty Health Systems in Willmar is the end of November.

According to the criminal complaint, South Dakota law enforcement officers were questioning Anderson-Person on Aug. 13 at her home in Clarkfield. A Yellow Medicine County officer was also present at the residence.

During that interview, Anderson-Person admitted she had given birth to the two infants and disposed of their bodies. The remains had been found in November 2012 near Fish Lake in Deuel County, S.D., on land owned by an Anderson family member.

There is no indication in any of the public court documents whether Anderson-Person told authorities how the babies died. The exact cause of death of the boy and the girl has not been determined, according to court documents, but the deaths have been classified as homicides due “to the nature in which the remains were discovered.”

Anderson-Person had been interviewed prior to August about a potential connection to the remains and had denied it.

South Dakota authorities at that time had gathered witness statements leading them to believe she had been pregnant in 2009 and in 2011. They obtained a DNA profile from a paternity case involving Anderson-Person and established there was a likelihood she was the mother of both infants.

In August when she agreed to talk to investigators at her home, there was also a search warrant executed to obtain a DNA sample from her to confirm she was the mother. The search warrant inventory also detailed cameras, cell phones and computer equipment items that were seized.

During that August interview, she eventually admitted giving birth to the two infants that were found in South Dakota and also admitted to disposing of the remains, the complaint states.

Anderson-Person then told officers she needed to call her husband, and reached down between the cushions of the couch and produced a handgun rather than a phone, the complaint states. She held the gun in her right hand while holding the infant in her left arm. She pointed the gun toward her head and to the left in the direction of where the infant was located. Officers struggled with her for control of the gun and the weapon discharged during the struggle, with the defendant’s finger on the trigger.

The gun was wrestled away, and the officers also pulled the child from Anderson-Person, who resisted the efforts. The child was crying but not harmed.

In August, the child was placed in the custody of the father, who has since filed for divorce from Anderson-Person.

Tribune reporter Tom Cherveny and news editor Susan Lunneborg contributed to this report.

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Dan Burdett
Dan Burdett is the community content coordinator at the West Central Tribune. He has 13 years experience in print media, to include four years enlisted service in the United States Air Force. He has been an employee of Forum Communications since 2005, joining the company after spending two years as the managing editor of the Redwood Gazette and Livewire in Redwood Falls. Prior to his current position, Dan was the presentation editor at the Tribune.
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