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Death of Eden Valley woman in fire pit under investigation

EDEN VALLEY -- The death of a 57-year-old woman whose body was found in a fire pit early Monday morning is under investigation by the Stearns County Sheriff's office.

The woman is identified by Sheriff John Sanner as Bonita Louise Schwandt. Her body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy. The initial investigation and forensic testing indicate that alcohol was likely a contributing factor in her death.

According to Sanner, Stearns County deputes, along with deputies from the Meeker County Sheriff's office and the Eden Valley Fire Department, were called around 1:20 a.m. Monday to a home along Stearns Avenue West in Eden Valley regarding a deceased woman found in a residential fire pit.

Schwandt had been sitting alone by the backyard fire pit at her residence and her body was discovered by her boyfriend after he went outside to check on her. Emergency crews pronounced her dead at the scene.