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Lakeville man charged with murder; victim's body may be in Fargo-area barn

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Law enforcement officials are asking for help finding a woman's body they believe may be in an abandoned barn or farm building outside of Fargo.

According to North Dakota's Cass County Sheriff's Office, 45-year-old Michelle Newell was last seen Aug. 28.

And officials are charging Timothy Barr, 51, of Lakeville with killing the Vadnais Heights woman.

The sheriff's office asks people to check any barns or buildings on their property and report anything unusual.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 701-241-5800.

According to the charges:

Investigators say Cass County officials initially had contact with Barr on Aug. 31. A property owner in North Dakota had called to report a man laying in the ditch with a vehicle parked on the owner's land.

When deputies arrived, Barr gave several stories to explain his presence. Bar said he'd pulled off to the side of the road to have sex with his girlfriend, but then her "real" boyfriend came to pick her up.

On Sept. 8, Newell's family reported her missing.

When authorities searched her apartment, they discovered she had not packed before leaving. Her phone records showed that she had called Barr around 11:15 p.m. on Aug. 28.

Then on Sept. 17, someone went to the police to say that Barr had admitted to killing a woman.

Barr reportedly told the informant that the woman stole a pound of methamphetamine from him and hid it in the woods. When Barr found out, he dragged the woman into the woods to get the drugs, but she didn't find them.

According to the informant, Barr said the woman hid under his car and Barr accidentally drove over her.

Barr said he put the dead woman's body in his trunk and drove north to dispose of her body.

The informant said that Barr later returned and bleached the trunk of his car.

Two other informants told officials similar stories. One said Barr admitted to hiding the woman's body in a farm building in South Dakota.

Barr was arrested Sept. 20 in Ramsey County. Authorities say he has 10 prior felony convictions – many of which are drug related.

He's also awaiting trial in Dakota County for domestic assault by strangulation.

Barr now faces three charges: two second degree murder charges while committing a felony, and one charge of criminal vehicular homicide.

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