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Prosecutors ready to file murder charges in Anarae Schunk case

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Nine months after Anarae Schunk was killed Dakota County prosecutors plan to file murder charges against the people they say are responsible for the death of the 20-year-old University of Minnesota student.

County Attorney James Backstrom plans to announce charges in the case Friday afternoon.

The Star Tribune is among those reporting Shavelle Chavez-Nelson and Ashley Conrade will be charged with second-degree murder. Unidentified sources tell the newspaper the county will convene a grand jury to consider upgrading the charges to first-degree murder.

Chavez-Nelson, 32, is serving prison time for an unrelated burglary conviction and already faces a first-degree murder charge in a fatal shooting outside a Burnsville bar last September.

Surveillance video from Nina's Bar & Grill reportedly showed Schunk leaving with Chavez-Nelson and Conrade after the shooting that night. According to the Star Tribune police have said they believe Schunk was killed at Conrade's town home in Rosemount. Her body was found in a ditch near Lonsdale nine days later.

Conrade, 24, had been charged with aiding Chavez-Nelson in the Burnsville murder. The Minnesota Daily reports she was arrested again Wednesday in advance of the new charges expected Thursday. A search warrant affidavit revealed in November that investigators had found a tub containing blood and a bloodstained quilt in the garage of Conrade's home.

Schunk's mother, Mariana, tells the Daily family members hope Chavez-Nelson and Conrade (above) will plead guilty and be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Her brother, Owen Schunk, tells the Pioneer Press prosecutors alerted the family early this month that charges would be filed soon. He calls it "another step forward" for the family but says Anarae's loss will always be part of their lives.

Friends, professors, and chess coaches shared fond memories of Anarae Schunk at her memorial service in October.

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