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Crime News Murders

Minnesota Couple Accused Of Murdering Man Over Brother's Fentanyl Overdose After Severed Foot Found

A Minnesota public works crew called police after finding a severed foot of Rodney Pendegayosh along the banks of the Mille Lacs Lake. Police suspect Bradley Allen Weyaus and Alexis Marion Elling killed him after he gave the woman's brother a fatal dose of fentanyl-laced drugs.

By Christina Coulter
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

The grim discovery of a storage tote filled with human remains by a road crew led to a Minnesota couple's arrest last week, authorities said Tuesday. 

Bradley Allen Weyaus, 21, was arrested last Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder, fleeing an officer, concealing a body and concealing evidence, according to Fox News. His girlfriend, Alexis Marion Elling, 22, was arrested in her home last Thursday and charged with aiding an offender and acting as an accomplice. 

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A Mille Lacs County public works crew called police after finding a peculiarly heavy bag while cleaning debris along the shores of Mille Lacs Lake on March 21, according to local NBC affiliate KARE 11

“It’s too heavy,” Sheriff Kyle Burton said at a Tuesday press conference. “So they hook a chain onto one of the handles of it, hook it up to one of their trucks. They try to drag it out that way. It breaks the handle, so they’re not able to move it that way.”

Mugshots of Bradley Allen Weyaus and Alexis M. Elling

Curious about what was inside, the workers cut away bungee cords and black duct tape holding the bag together. Inside, Burton said, they found "what they believed to be a severed human foot."

That foot, along with other human remains found in the tote, belonged to 25-year-old Rodney Pendegayosh, according to the Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Department. Burton said the couple targeted Pendegayosh for allegedly selling Elling's brother a fatal mixture of fentanyl and meth on Jan. 10. 

“We can’t confirm that he was 100% involved in it, but his name was mentioned by witnesses,” Burton said. “We believe, based on the evidence we’ve gathered so far and the interviews we have conducted, that that was the reason why he was targeted.”

Elling, Weyaus and Pendegayosh were all present when Brandon Elling overdosed, according to a search warrant reviewed by KARE 11. A witness told detectives about an overheard conversation, in which Elling allegedly told another sibling that Pendegayosh had bragged about lacing the drugs that killed her brother. Therefore, Elling allegedly told the sibling, Weyaus killed him and "stuffed him in a trunk."

Several buckshot pellets were found lodged in Pendegayosh's throat and chest in a later autopsy, according to to court documents obtained by Fox News.

Officers quickly ascertained the victim's identity and identified Weyaus as a suspect. Soon afterward, an officer spotted Weyaus' white Saturn near the site where the remains were found. 

"As the investigator’s squad began to overtake the vehicle, instead of pulling over due to the investigator’s emergency lights, the white Saturn accelerated away at a high rate of speed," according to records reviewed by Fox.

The pursuing officer lost track of the vehicle for a brief time, Burton said, before he found it abandoned in a driveway on a rural property. The homeowners led police to a camper trailer on the property they said a man had raced into carrying duffel bags. 

Inside, they found Weyaus crouched in a back corner and placed him under arrest. A hammer, a hacksaw, and industrial tape that police said matched the tape binding the remains found on the road were found on him, court documents said. A spent shotgun shell was recovered inside Weyaus' vehicle. 

ID and credit cards belonging to Pendegayosh were recovered at a dumpster behind Elling's apartment in Isle, Burton said. Also in the dumpster were bloodied clothing, gloves, an empty box of shotgun shells, a hardware store receipt for some of the items confiscated in the trailer and swatches of rolled up, bloodied carpet. 

Investigators found matching sections of bare floor where carpet had been torn up in Elling's home, police said. A handwritten letter in which Weyaus told Elling he would be "leaving for a long time due to their mistake" was also recovered.

"The author of the note indicated remorse, sorrow for causing [Elling] trouble and stated that the author would be leaving for a long time due to their mistake," read court documents. "The author further stated that they would not allow themselves to be captured by law enforcement."

Surveillance video from a business located across the street from Elling's apartment, where detectives believe Pendegayosh was killed, showed two people, believed to be Weyaus and Elling, carrying a tote out of the home on March 19 and putting it in a black Impala.

Before the body was discovered, Burton said, it had been "moved multiple places for a period of possibly up to a week before the discovery was made.” 

Ultimately, Elling admitted to police she had helped Weyaus hide the man's body, but denied taking part in his killing. 

"Elling admitted that she had helped remove the container from the residence on Main Street knowing that (Pendegayosh's) body was inside. She indicated that it was placed in [another woman's] vehicle and then driven to [that woman's] residence in Wahkon where it was unloaded," the court documents allege. 

Police never recovered the gun used to shoot the victim. Elling allegedly told police she stashed it inside the other woman's car before unloading it and selling it to an unnamed man for drugs.

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