Man sentenced to life for child abduction, strangulation
WALKER, Minn. (AP) — A man accused of abducting and killing a 5-year-old girl from central Minnesota has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Zachary Todd Anderson was originally charged with 19 counts for the death of Alayna Ertl. An autopsy found that the girl was strangled.
Prosecutors say Anderson pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree murder and criminal sexual conduct. Judge Jana Austad then sentenced Anderson to life without parole, the mandatory penalty under Minnesota law.
Anderson was arrested in August 2016 in Cass County after Alayna was kidnapped from her home in Watkins, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis. Her body was found submerged and covered with debris, near a cabin owned by Anderson’s family near Motley.
Anderson, who’s from Coon Rapids, was considered a friend of Alayna’s father.