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Man charged with murder in 'unspeakably evil' killing of vulnerable adult

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A Stillwater man faces murder charges in the death of a vulnerable man.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput confirmed in a news release Friday that 24-year-old Nathan Nigel Anthony Eldredge of Stillwater was arrested shortly after midnight in Matteson, Illinois.

He is charged in the death of 39-year-old Nils Johnson, whose body was found at his condominium in Oak Park Heights on Tuesday, though he is believed to have died Saturday.

Johnson's mother Diane told the Pioneer Press he had developed a mental illness in high school and that he called her every night, but failed to get in touch last Friday or Saturday.

"People could take advantage of him, and we always warned him of that ... He was probably too trusting," she told the newspaper, before adding: "The whole thing is unspeakably evil."

The Stillwater Gazette reports this marks the first homicide in Oak Park Heights since October 1998, and WCCO says his death has shocked the city.

"This has rocked our community to the core," neighbor Jolene Cady told the station. "We feel violated that somebody could come in here and do this to somebody who didn’t deserve it."

Johnson had been working as a cook at McDonald's for the past two years, having worked 11 years for Cub Foods. He was a 1994 graduate of Stillwater Area High School, the Pioneer Press notes.

Orput says his office is preparing to have Eldredge extradited from Illinois, should it be required, adding: "We are prepared to bring all our resources to bear to bring this prosecution to a successful end."

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