Father charged in newborn's death

     The Dakota County Attorney’s office expects to bring further criminal charges following the death of Anthony Herkal, a 13-day-old baby in Apple Valley.
   “It is heartbreaking that the serious injuries suffered by this helpless infant have now led to his death,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. “On behalf of everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case, I want to express our deepest sympathy to Anthony Herkal’s family.”
   The baby’s father, Michael Herkal, 32, 3409 Garnet Court, Burnsville, is being held at Dakota County jail in lieu of $1 million bail on felony assault and child abuse charges. The county attorney’s office said Tuesday it expects to bring additional charges based on autopsy results.
   Herkal is currently charged with first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child. Apple Valley Police were called to the baby’s home at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, Aug. 12, for a report the infant was not breathing. The baby’s mother, who had left the baby with his father after the couple had an argument, called 911 to report her boyfriend had told her the baby would not wake up. Herkal himself then called 911 reporting the baby was limp and not breathing, according to investigators.
   Police arrived to find the baby was not breathing and had no pulse. While the first responders were trying to save the baby’s life, they noticed several bruises on the baby’s body, according to court records.
   The baby was taken to a local hospital by ambulance but later transferred to Children’s Masonic because could not breathe on his own and had suffered a skull fracture.  
   Investigators allege Herkal originally blamed the baby’s injuries on a toddler who was in the baby’s home at the time, claiming the toddler had twice pulled the baby off the couch. He later changed his story, according to police, explaining he had squeezed the baby because the baby was kicking during his diaper change. Herkal also allegedly admitted the baby “slipped out of his hands and fell onto a coffee table.”
   Investigators searched Herkal’s phone and found Google searches such as “someone threw a baby on the floor” and “noisy baby breathing what’s normal and what’s not” had been run about an hour and a half before Herkal called 911.
   Herkal had been sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years of probation last September for violating a domestic abuse no contact order after two or more violations, according to court records. Following the assault charge, a summons for a probation violation was issued Tuesday and a hearing on that matter is scheduled Aug. 23.
Michael Herkal

Pawlenty loses primary

   Former governor and Eagan resident Tim Pawlenty lost his comeback bid in the gubernatorial primary Tuesday to fellow Republican candidate Jeff Johnson.
    With all 87 counties reporting, Pawlenty’s 43.9 percent of the vote trailed Johnson’s 52.65 percent, according to the unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.
   Pawlenty had raised more money than Johnson, $2.1 million to Johnson's $300,000.

Construction continues on an expansion of Eagan's police department on Pilot Knob Road. The two-tone concrete and brick sections on the right are the recently erected walls. The solid brick section on the left is the existing building.

City seeks another tax increase in 2019 budget

   Citing the increased demand for city services caused by development, the city of Eagan is proposing a 5.5 percent increase to its general fund budget for 2019. The proposed increase follows a similar tax increase this year, after the city cited a need for more firefighters and police officers because of development.
   The 2019 budget, as proposed, would mean a 5.6 percent tax increase for the average Eagan home, according to the city administrator’s office. The proposed tax increase is more than double the 2018 inflation rate, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
   “With community growth comes the need for a higher level of city service delivery,” City Administrator David Osberg wrote to the mayor and city council in a memo outlining the proposed budget and accompanying tax increase. “Eagan is a changing city, as the last few years have included major commercial developments in Cedar Grove and Central Park Commons.”
   The city is also in the middle of a massive renovation to its city hall and police station.
   The 2019 budget was included in a two-year operating budget approved last year. However, city department heads can amend budget requests if certain conditions are met. The revised 2019 budget of $38.1 million includes a net increase of $173,000 from the $37.9 million budget presented in December 2017.
   Formal action on the budget is scheduled for the Sept. 4 Eagan City Council meeting.

Eagan mother critically injured in truck crash

   EAGAN, MN -- A 33-year-old Eagan mother remains in critical condition after a truck allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Cliff and Pilot Knob roads Monday morning and struck her SUV.
   Alayna Tanaka, 33, of Eagan suffered extensive injuries in the crash and remained in critical condition Tuesday. A mother of two, her children were not in her car at the time of the crash.
   The driver of the semi truck that struck Tanaka's SUV was identified as Todd Steven Franklin, 50, of Randolph. Franklin was treated for unspecified injuries after the crash and released from the hospital a short time later. The truck he was driving overturned and spilled a large amount of sand into the roadway.
   The 11:30 a.m. crash shut down two of Eagan’s major arteries, Cliff and Pilot Knob roads, for hours Monday as state police were brought in to investigate the crash. Police allege Franklin ran a red light at the major intersection before striking Tanaka’s car, but, as of Tuesday, Aug. 14, Franklin had not been charged with any offenses connected to the crash.
   The Eagan Police Department refused to comment as to whether Franklin had a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash or if he was tested for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to court records, Todd Steven Franklin has a history of at least 11 offenses in the state, including speeding and other motor vehicle offenses. 

2018 Dakota County Fair

The 2018 Dakota County Fair wrapped up Sunday after a week of agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, safety demonstrations, demolition derbys and music. See more inside on the Dakota County Fair page.

Minneapolis woman facing meth charge

All that glittered was not gold, police say

   EAGAN, MN -- A Minneapolis woman is facing a felony drug charge following her arrest by state police in the city of Eagan.
   Carrie Warren, 34, of 135 16th Ave. NE #1, Minneapolis, was charged with third-degree possession of 10 grams or more of a controlled substance, a felony, and providing false information to police,  a gross misdemeanor, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.
   The charges stem from an Aug. 2 motor vehicle stop in Eagan by a Minnesota state trooper. The state trooper stopped the car because the driver did not appear to be wearing a seatbelt, according to the criminal complaint. When the trooper asked for the driver’s license, she allegedly told the patrol officer it had been stolen. She also allegedly told the state trooper she had bought the car three months ago but did not have the paperwork.
   A second police officer arrived at the scene with a fingerprint scanner. When police checked the driver’s fingerprints, she was identified as Carrie Warren. Police also discovered an active warrant for her arrest and that her driver’s license had been revoked, according to court records.
   Police searched the car after arresting Warren and found a black backpack containing a scale, two glass pipes, and a clear plastic baggie containing a crystal substance. They also allegedly found a black purse containing two plastic bags of marijuana and a wallet containing $469 in cash.
   Police allege the crystal substance field tested positive for 21.4 grams of methamphetamine.
   Warren’s son was also in the car at the time of her arrest, according to court records.
   EAGAN, MN – A California man has been charged with felony theft based on allegations he tried to swindle local pawn shops by pawning off fake gold.
   Jerry Linn, 47, of 1440 Hungry Hollow Road, Lincoln, Calif., was charged with theft by swindle over $1,000, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.
   The charge stems from a Burnsville police investigation into a report from a local pawn shop that a customer’s gold chains were not, although they were stamped with a 10K marking, insinuating 10-karat gold. Testing at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprension  concluded the chains were made mostly of copper, with a thin coating of gold and copper, as well as trace amounts of zinc and silver.
   Police discovered several similar transactions at pawn shops in Roseville, Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville, Shakopee, and Apple Valley. The pawn shops gave the suspect money for the chains, in amounts ranging from about $475 to $1200. There were seven transactions over two days, Oct. 15 to Oct. 17. The Burnsville pawn shop that reported the alleged swindle refused an attempted pawn on Oct. 18.
   Police suspect Linn’s only ties to the area were the pawn transactions and that he had no other business or family in the area, according to court records. Linn had a record of pawn transactions in several states, including Colorado, Nevada, and Florida,  between August and December 2017, according to police.
Carrie Warren

Mankato man charged in tool theft

   EAGAN, MN -- A Mankato man is facing a felony charge based on allegations he tried to steal tools from an Eagan store.
   Michael Roy Marsh, 41, of 19369 584th Lane, Mankato, was charged with felony possession of burglary or theft tools and gross misdemeanor theft over $500, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.
   The charge stems from an Aug. 2 report to Eagan police of a theft in progress. Police allege Marsh used a knife to cut anti-theft devices from tool kits valued at more than $845 and took the items from the store without paying for them.