The remains found in rural North Dakota earlier this month were those of a missing Minnesota woman.
Timothy Barr, a man who is suspected in the August disappearance of Michelle Newell, led officials to the remains in rural Cass County, North Dakota, in early December.
And now a medical examiner has confirmed that those remains were Newell's, the Cass County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Ramsey County, Minnesota, investigators have suspected Barr was involved in Newell’s disappearance since the beginning, but said he wouldn’t cooperate with authorities. They ended up charging him with second-degree murder in September, even though officials didn’t have a body. Those charges were dropped in October because of “lack of subject matter jurisdiction” (officials didn’t have enough evidence to prove Newell had been killed in Minnesota).
Barr is now charged again, this time in North Dakota, with manslaughter and duty in accident involving death or injury. He's currently being held in the Cass County Jail.
Barr and Newell were last seen together on surveillance video on Aug. 29 and then by a witness on Aug. 30.
Cass County officials initially had contact with Barr on Aug. 31. A property owner in North Dakota had called to report a man laying in the ditch with a vehicle parked on the owner’s land.
When deputies arrived, Barr gave several stories to explain his presence. Barr said he’d pulled off to the side of the road to have sex with his girlfriend, but then her “real” boyfriend came to pick her up.
Investigators spoke with people who said Barr told them he had accidentally backed over Newell, who was hiding under the vehicle because she’d taken and hid meth from him.
On Dec. 1, Barr’s acquaintance told investigators with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office that Barr wanted to tell them about what happened to Newell and where her body was.
Barr used a map to show authorities the location of Newell’s body. North Dakota officials found hair and human remains, including a forearm bone with an elbow connection, other small bones and some teeth.