Sister of murder accused now charged in Lino Lakes killing

She was allegedly with her brother when he fatally shot 22-year-old Karl Henderson.
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Melissa Zielinski

A second person has been charged in the killing of a 22-year-old man at his family's home in Lino Lakes last month.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office announced Friday that Melissa Zielinski, 47, of Sandstone, Minnesota, has been charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of Karl Henderson on Aug. 27.

She is the sister of Nicholas Zielinski, 43, of Hermantown, who was charged with 2nd-degree murder on Sept. 1.

Henderson's father arrived home to find a man and a woman in his kitchen, with his son found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, which proved fatal.

Police were able to track Nicholas Zielinski after doorbell camera footage provided a description of the black SUV he was driving, which belongs to a woman with whom he lives, but who was not involved in the shooting.

After his arrest, police turned their attention to identifying the woman who was with him at the time, and a number of people spoke to said it was likely to be his sister.

Cellphones place them near Lino Lakes

Using cellphone tracking, investigators were able to determine that Nicholas Zielinski left the Duluth area on the morning of the shooting and stopped in Sandstone, where his sister lives, on his way to the cities.

His phone also showed him stopping in Sandstone again on the way back from Lino Lakes, while Melissa Zielinski's phone also showed her to have been in the Lino Lakes area.

Furthermore, a photograph accidentally taken inside her pocket on the day of the shooting was geo-tagged as having been taken 4.3 miles from the Henderson house.

A string of text messages on her phone included a text in which Melissa Zielinski wrote: "We are going to collect some money that's owed to me hopefully."

A reply said: "So you and Nick are going to muscle some money."

To which she replied: "Hopefully. I waited long enough."

Further investigation found that Melissa Zielinski was about to be evicted from her home, with a friend in the process of buying the house to stop this.

However, just hours before the deal closed, the friend was informed he needed an extra $4,000 for closing costs. He supplied this from his account, but unexpectedly then received $3,000 in cash from Melissa Zielinski on Aug. 28, the day after Henderson's killing.

When Henderson's father confronted the pair in his home, Nicholas Zielinski said something to the effect of: "Your son stole on me."

It's not been revealed why Henderson owed them money.

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