Skip to main content

3 people arrested after memorial tree for dead teenager was cut down

The red maple was planted in memory of the late 16-year-old Nicholas Paulson.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Police believe they have caught three people responsible for cutting down trees in Faribault – one of them planted in the memory of a teenager who died eight years ago.

At least six trees were cut down at the Faribault Soccer Complex and in the grounds of Faribault High School earlier this month. One of them was a red maple planted in memory of Faribault student Nicholas Paulson, who lost his life in 2009 at the age of 16.

On Monday, Faribault police announced they arrested three suspects – two 19-year-olds and one 18-year-old – in connection with the vandalism spree. They now face felony-level criminal damage charges.

"I’m pleased to see those responsible for this senseless act of vandalism have been identified," Police Chief Andy Bohlen said in a news release. "Any crime reported to our agency is taken seriously, and our detectives worked diligently to identify the suspects and solve this crime to help put the Paulson family’s mind at ease."

The Paulson family was devastated by the vandalism, releasing a statement reported by the Faribault Daily News: "To know that someone maliciously vandalized the area and took out the tree with no regard for others or the life of the tree, which was an extension of him, brings tears to our eyes and sorrow to our hearts."

“Although the tree can be replaced, it will never be the same," they added.

The damage left behind by the vandals can be seen in the pictures below. They were posted on Facebook by Lori Keller-Johnson.

Next Up


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.

floor and decor screengrab

Home brand plans 'flagship' store in Maple Grove AMC Theater space

This will be the company's first Minnesota location.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 28

The state is still in the process of catching up with 10,000 yet-to-be processed tests.

Bryan Acuna

Twins sign 16-year-old brother of Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.

Bryan Acuna is one of the top international prospects, according to

Christopher Endicott

Authorities: Former principal who died in MN jail took his own life

He was found unresponsive in the jail last November.


Northern MN man accused of cutting down, stealing $3,500 worth of trees

The white-barked trees are often used in decorations.

Several trees have been vandalized in Robbinsdale

If you see someone doing this, call 911.

Teenager shot by police at disc golf course was holding an airsoft gun

Four officers opened fire on the 18-year-old, who is in a critical condition.

$5K reward to find a regional park's tree killers

Girdling is an illegal act and one that more often than not leads to the death of a tree.

Family identifies 14 year old shot dead at home in Princeton

"Eric leaves behind a full loving family and his memory will always be with us."

2 arrested for murder of man found dead in Willmar field

The body of 24-year-old David Medellin Jr. was found on Halloween.