Murder charges dropped in case of missing MN woman

Timothy Barr is no longer charged with murder, but he'll go to prison for a different case.

Murder charges against a man suspected of killing a missing Vadnais Heights woman and hiding her body have been dropped, but he'll still be serving some time in prison.

Timothy Barr was charged last month with second-degree murder in the death of Michelle Newell, despite authorities never finding the woman's body. But on Wednesday the three-count criminal complaint was dismissed because of "lack of subject matter jurisdiction."

Newell went missing on Aug. 29, and prosecutors claim Barr drove over her with his car, killing her, then hid her body somewhere in the Dakotas. Ramsey County officials have been pleading for the public's help to find her remains.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office says they've learned new information since filing the charges against Barr, and there's not enough evidence to prove Newell was killed in Minnesota. Because of that, there are issues about where a suspect can be charged.

"Murder charges could be refiled at a later date, but only after the jurisdictional issues are resolved," the attorney's office said Wednesday.

At the same hearing Wednesday, Barr pleaded guilty to one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, a charged that stemmed from a different case. This guilty plea means he could face up to 19 months (that's about a year and a half) in prison. He'll be sentenced on Nov. 17.

Anyone with information about Newell's disappearance or the whereabouts of her body is asked to call the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office at 651-266-7320 or dial 911.

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