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A couple from Minneapolis has been charged in connection to the fatal beating of a man whose body was then left in a culvert in Dakota County back in March. 

Arturo Morales-Ceras, 34, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with Manuel Mandujano's March 29 death. His girlfriend, Tomasa Martinez, 30, was charged with kidnapping.

Last week, Ivan Contreras-Sanchez, 40, of Minneapolis, was charged with intentional second-degree murder and unintentional second-degree murder in Mandujano's death. 

Warning: Details in this case are upsetting.

The trio allegedly kidnapped Mandujano from a homeless camp and brought him back to a Minneapolis home, where they beat and interrogated him for being a "snitch," court documents say. They then wrapped him up in plastic and dumped his body in a farm culvert in Dakota County, where it was found about three weeks later. 

Related [Nov. 5]: Charges: Man taunted wounded victim on camera before 'savage' murder

Related [April 29]: Minneapolis man's body found in Dakota County culvert

The charges

According to the criminal complaints, Mandujano's family reported him missing to the Minneapolis Police Department on April 4, saying he was last seen on March 27. 

They said they'd been told by people at a homeless camp he'd gotten into a fight with another man and was hit over the head with a shovel, killing him, charges state. 

About three weeks later, on April 26, Mandujano's body was found in a farming culvert in Dakota County. His hands were bound behind his back and a nail was in the back heel of one of his feet, the complaint says. 

The medical examiner determined Mandujano died of blunt force trauma and his death was a homicide. He had trauma to his face, fractured ribs, a fractured hand, and a nail in his heel that went to the bone, charges said. 

During the investigation into Mandujano's death, police discovered at 8:28 p.m. on March 29, Contreras-Sanchez's cellphone was in the area of the culvert, charges said. The cellphone was also in the area of a Speedway gas station in Inver Grove Heights at 7:36 p.m. the same day. Surveillance video from the gas station showed a Honda CRV and a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx arriving there together.

Police located the Malibu Maxx at 3214 Irving Ave. North in Minneapolis, where they saw Contreras-Sanchez had gutted the interior of the vehicle, the complaint says. 

He was taken into custody on Nov. 2 and made his first court appearance on Nov. 8. The arrest followed months of investigations as well as tips from an informant and talks with multiple witnesses, who linked Contreras-Sanchez to the crime, the charges indicate. 

In an interview with police, Contreras-Sanchez initially denied he was involved with Mandujano's death but then admitted he'd been in a fight with him about 20 days prior to the incident but that was it, the complaint states. He eventually admitted he was at 425 36th St. in Minneapolis when he saw several people beating on Mandujano, noting one man took a hammer to Mandujano's hand and another man hit him on the head with a pipe.

Contreras-Sanchez identified one of the men as Morales-Ceras, charges said. He said others at the home included Martinez. 

Police took Morales-Ceras and Martinez into custody on Nov. 5. In an interview with police, Morales-Ceras said he went to a homeless tent camp at 5th Avenue South and Lake Street in Minneapolis with Contreras-Sanchez, where they found Mandujano, court documents say.

Morales-Ceras said Contreras-Sanchez forced Mandujano into his Malibu Maxx at gunpoint, prosecutors allege. They went to the home on 36th Street and took Mandujano into the basement, where Morales-Ceras admitted he kicked Mandujano, as did several other people who were in the basement, at the direction of Contreras-Sanchez. 

Morales-Ceras admitted he pounded a roofing nail into the bone of Mandujano's foot, charges said. 

During their investigation, police found blood splatter on the water heater in the basement and the walls near the stairs, the complaint states. 

They then took Mandujano to the main floor of the home, where they interrogated him about working with police and being a "snitch," the complaint states. During the interrogation, Morales-Ceras was holding a hammer to intimidate Mandujano.

They then moved him to the second floor of the home and after some time Martinez brought him out of the house. Mandujano was in bad shape and had a difficult time walking but was still alive, Morales-Ceras said, according to court documents. 

They then wrapped him in plastic and put him in the back of the Malibu Maxx. Morales-Ceras, Contreras-Sanchez and Martinez got into the car and drove south, with Martinez behind the wheel.

While they were driving, Contreras-Sanchez said Mandujano had died. They then met up with two other people who were in a Honda CRV, driving around looking for a place to dump Mandujano's body.

Contreras-Sanchez gave videos to police that showed Morales-Ceras with his arm wrapped around Mandujano's neck and waving a hammer at Mandujano. In the videos, Martinez is looking at her cellphone while Mandujano is being "beaten and tortured," making no effort to intervene, the complaint states. 

Videos also show Contreras-Sanchez talking to Mandujano about being a snitch. Mandujano's eyes are swollen shut and blood is covering his clothes and face, changes said. 

Martinez and Morales-Ceras are set to make their first court appearance on Tuesday. 

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