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Clarkfield woman questioned in S.D. homicide faces child endangerment charge

GRANITE FALLS — A woman who has admitted to disposing of the bodies of her two infant children is being charged with a gross misdemeanor offense for allegedly pointing a gun at her head as she held her 9-month-old child.

Yellow Medicine County filed a charge on Nov. 4 of endangering a child against Kelly Anderson-Person, 34, most recently of Clarkfield and formerly of Hendricks. A bail hearing is scheduled Wednesday.

Anderson-Person is currently committed for mental illness by court order.

The child endangerment charge results from an incident alleged to have occurred as she was being interviewed in a South Dakota homicide investigation. Law enforcement officers from South Dakota were questioning Anderson-Person on Aug. 13 at her home in Clarkfield about the discovery of two sets of infant remains in eastern South Dakota, and Yellow Medicine County officers assisted at the scene.

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.

The complaint in the Yellow Medicine County case represents the first time authorities have revealed that Anderson-Person allegedly admitted to disposing of the bodies at the site. Other court documents filed earlier in the commitment case stated that she had admitted during the August interview to being the mother of the two infants.

In addition to the interview, a search warrant also was executed Aug. 13. DNA swabs were collected from Anderson-Person for use in confirming her as the mother, and the inventory also lists computer, camera and cellphone items that were seized.

According to the complaint alleging child endangerment, Anderson-Person had just told the officers about the events leading up to the disposal of the bodies of the boy and girl.

There is no indication in the complaint whether there was discussion with her about how the babies died.

She 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.

Officers struggled with her for control of the gun. 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, the complaint states.

One of the officers redirected the muzzle toward the ceiling and it 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, the complaint states.

A felony child endangerment charge can be charged in cases where a child is injured.

The homicide investigation related to the disposal of the bodies in South Dakota remains active. Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson said he is not aware of any charges against Anderson-Person at this time other than the endangerment charge now filed by Yellow Medicine County.

According to court papers, Anderson-Person acknowledged that she was pregnant in 2009 and 2011 while living in Ivanhoe, Minn.

She was committed to in-patient mental health care following an Aug. 28 hearing. Her husband has subsequently filed for dissolution of the marriage. Court action on Aug. 28 placed custody of their infant child with him.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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