Woman arrested after stabbing at rural home leaves one dead

LITCHFIELD -- A single stab wound to the chest killed Randy David Silbaugh Sunday evening as he and his girlfriend argued at the rural Litchfield home they shared.

LITCHFIELD -- A single stab wound to the chest killed Randy David Silbaugh Sunday evening as he and his girlfriend argued at the rural Litchfield home they shared.

The girlfriend, identified by the Meeker County Sheriff's Department as Tina Marie Mathews, 39, was arrested and is expected to be charged in Meeker County District Court sometime before noon today.

Silbaugh, 46, is listed as having a Coon Rapids address, but Meeker County Sheriff Mike Hirman said Silbaugh and Mathews lived together on and off at 21860 575th Ave. The small farmsite is located in Greenleaf Township, about six miles southwest of Litchfield.

Mathews' father and her two children, including one who is a juvenile, also live at the home and witnessed the murder, Hirman said.

Authorities were notified of the incident when a neighbor called 911 around 6:28 p.m.


Arnold Schmitz, who lives less than a quarter mile down the road from the murder scene, said one of Mathew's sons came "walking across by the trees" and came to his door Sunday evening.

"He said somebody got cut up and to call the ambulance," Schmitz said during an interview Monday afternoon on his front step. "He told me to call 911."

Schmitz said he called the emergency number and was going to hand the phone to the boy. "But he was gone. He didn't stick around," Schmitz said.

There is no telephone service at Mathews' home, Hirman said.

According to a press release, Silbaugh was dead at the scene.

Mathews, her father and children were taken to the Meeker County Sheriff's office for questioning.

Mathews was taken into custody and placed in the Meeker County Jail pending formal charges. The others were released.

Hirman said Mathews was "hysterical" and "upset" when authorities arrived at the home but she did not put up a fight.


After receiving the initial call around 6:30 p.m., investigators were at the scene until about 3 a.m. on Monday, Hirman said.

The preliminary investigation showed Mathews and Silbaugh were arguing before the stabbing occurred. The knife was found in woodland close to the home.

"They tried to get rid of the murder weapon, but we found it," Hirman said. Hirman said the Minnesota Attorney General will prosecute the case, and the Meeker County attorney will assist.

Meeker County deputies had been to the residence several times in recent years.

Hirman said officers arrested Silbaugh on warrants from two other counties, including a warrant from Anoka County for driving while intoxicated.

In 2005, authorities investigated a report that Silbaugh was a victim of domestic abuse. Hirman didn't know if Mathews was the perpetrator in that case.

Earlier this year there was a report of a domestic situation at the home. No charges were filed.

Schmitz said he knew the sheriff's department had been to his neighbor's home "quite a few times" but was "shocked" to hear of Silbaugh's death. He said he didn't know a homicide had been committed when he placed the 911 call.


"Life is precious. Nobody has the right to take someone else's life," said Schmitz, shaking his head.

Officers from the Meeker County Sheriff's department, Litchfield Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Meeker County Coroner's office participated in the investigation. The Litchfield Rescue squad and the Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the scene. The last murder reported in Meeker County was in 2000.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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