Online nanny ad ends in slaying

  1. Online nanny ad ends in slaying

    ***just sad. just from the picture she just seemed to beautiful inside and out.***

    A 24-year-old went to meet someone in Savage about a job she saw posted on Craigslist. Police have a suspect in custody.
    By Chris Havens and James Walsh, Star Tribune
    Last update: October 27, 2007 – 9:29 PM
    Answering an online ad for a nanny job -- which she had done at least twice before without trouble -- cost Katherine Ann Olson her life, authorities said.Olson, a 24-year-old St. Olaf graduate, was found dead in the trunk of her car at a Burnsville park late Friday night. She was last seen by friends on Thursday morning, when she went to meet someone in Savage about the job, which authorities said she had found on Craigslist.
    A 19-year-old Savage man who police believe placed the ad is being held in the Scott County jail pending charges. Authorities did not release his name but said charges could be filed as soon as today.
    Olson graduated from Park of Cottage Grove High School in 2002, where she was co-valedictorian, and from St. Olaf College in 2006. She was a theater and Hispanic studies major whose family said had taken nanny jobs at least twice before, including a job in Turkey, after answering online ads.
    Olson's family gathered in front of their Cottage Grove home Saturday afternoon to share stories of a vivacious young woman "who was a joy, who trusted people."
    Her family said they'd had misgivings about Katherine Olson finding jobs online. But she never seemed to worry.
    "She always assumed the best in other people," said her father. "She assumed the best of this appointment Thursday morning. And, if it didn't work out, she assumed she could turn around and go home.", an online bulletin board, has fallen under the watch of law enforcement agencies in recent years because of prostitution ads and its use to set up robberies, but an Internet search revealed no other homicides connected to the site.
    First purse, then bloody towel
    Savage Police Capt. David Muelken gave this account of Olson's death:
    A resident told a Savage Public Works employee about a purse found in a garbage can at Pacer Park. That employee notified police, and an officer got the purse, which contained things belonging to Olson.
    At first it appeared to be a theft. Police called Olson's home and left a message telling her they had her purse.
    About 5 p.m. Friday, Olson's roommate returned the call and told police Olson hadn't been seen since 8 a.m. Thursday.
    Police went back to Pacer Park and found a garbage bag in the container. Inside the bag was a "significantly bloody towel."
    An extensive search of the park area yielded no clues.
    Savage Police went through Olson's cell phone and credit card records to see if she had used either recently. They found nothing.
    Then they got some information that "led them in a direction," Muelken said.
    Meanwhile, a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was called in to help. The pilot noticed a car in the parking lot of Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve in Burnsville, which is a few blocks away from Pacer Park.
    Police identified the car as Olson's and searched it. Her body was found in the trunk.
    As the search proceeded Friday night, other investigators began to focus on the 19-year-old Savage man. He worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and airport police arrested him there Friday night.
    He was taken to the Savage Police Department, where he was interviewed, and then brought to the Scott County Jail.
    "We're confident we have the suspect in custody," Muelken said. He said he believed there is no public threat.
    Citing the investigation, police were cautious about the details they released. They didn't say how Olson might have been killed or whether a weapon was used. They said they weren't sure of a motive.
    This is the first homicide in Savage since 2000, when Donald Robertson was believed to have killed his wife, Linda, before fatally shooting himself. Before that, the last homicide in the city was the shooting death of a Bloomington man in 1976.
    Olson's body was taken to the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office in Hastings for an autopsy.
    Muelken said it was an unusual homicide because usually there's a relationship between the victim and suspect.
    'Spontaneous, effusive'
    She'd graduated with honors from high school and college, had recently finished playing Maria in her church community theater's production of "The Sound of Music," and was searching for a career to match her interests and energies. She was fluent in Spanish and was taking night classes to become an interpreter, although her mother said she'd decided that might not be the career for her.
    "She told me, 'I don't want to be invisible. I don't want to be behind the scenes. I'm an actress,'" said her father, Rolf Olson, pastor of Richfield Lutheran Church.
    Her mother, Nancy Olson, said Katherine "just danced into people's lives." When Katherine Olson joined the book club at church, she immediately charmed the other, much older members. They became, her father said, "her other moms."
    She had helped coach high school speech and had been a receptionist for a local clinic that served Spanish-speaking families. But that job ended last week and she was searching for another -- including child care again, her sister said.
    So she'd made the appointment to talk about the Savage job on Thursday. When Katherine didn't contact her family that day, they became concerned. On Friday, her sister, Sarah, talked to Katherine's roommate, who mentioned that Olson had gone to Savage to interview for a babysitting job.
    The next contact the family had, said Nancy Olson, was when police called saying they'd found her purse. On Saturday afternoon, her family said they are finding strength in the people who were touched by Katherine Olson's life -- and the memories they hold.
    "We grieve even more because of what the world has lost. Not just for us, but for all these other people she would have touched," said Nancy Olson, her face still speckled with glitter from holding a Mother's Day card Katherine made for her a few years ago.
    "Parents get to raise a child and then release them to the world. And now she's gone to the next world," Nancy Olson said. "We've had her for the time we had her. And now we've given her away." • 651-298-1542 • 651-298-1541

    © 2007 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
  2. scares me how some people can be sooo sick
  3. That is so terrible. If he just wanted her money he could have just taken that! He didn't have to kill her. I hope he gets the worse!
  4. So sad and angered by this. Whoever did this should be punished severely, even if he didnt mean to kill her. What a waste of life, she was so young, beautiful and bright.
  5. craigslist scares me. I do not understand why it isn't looked at more closely by the government. I've read so many articals that lists craigslist as the online advertising agent at the heart of many criminal activities, including prostitution.

    This story is extremely sad. Prayers for her family and friends.
  6. Is MN experiencing a plethora of random murders? I'm curious because there seems to be more reported cases on New Stories (but I could be wrong, that's why I'm asking)? Are you all experiencing a serial killer wave?
  7. No, I can't say that we are. We have parts of the metro area that unfortunately are experiencing waves of violence, but nothing different from other big cities.
  8. What a waste of life - she looks so pretty and innocent. I hope the person who murdered her gets what they deserve. I will pray for her, and her poor parents and family and friends.
  9. how sad :sad: just shows how dangerous the internet can be!
  10. Oh my goodness...this is so scary. I can't imagine what her family is going through right now.

    The internet really is a scary place.
  11. OMG, that's really close to where I live... I went to Burnsville High School, but I no longer live in that suburb. That's so scary!!
  12. How incredibly sad!
  13. [​IMG]

    Olson funeral: 'Evil does not have the last word'

    The funeral of Craigslist murder victim Katherine Ann Olson was awash in community support. In their anguish, as family and friends buoyed one another, they affirmed a vibrant life -- and hope. By Curt Brown, Star Tribune

    Last update: October 31, 2007 – 8:56 PM
    Once the pews filled, mourners crowded in front of the sun-splashed arched windows of an Edina church Wednesday afternoon.There were police officers, high school classmates, friends from St. Olaf College, visiting clergy members, relatives, neighbors and strangers. They more than filled the 1,600 seats at Christ Presbyterian Church to remember murder victim Katherine Ann Olson.

    The outpouring of community support showed "that evil does not have the last word," according to the Rev. Tom Koelln, a Lutheran pastor and longtime family friend.
    "We shouldn't be here today," Koelln said. "But it's so important we are here to comfort this family. God did not want another angel. What happened last Thursday was the work of evil -- undisguised, uncensored and unmasked."

    The 24-year-old Olson was shot in the back last Thursday after showing up for what she thought was a baby-sitting job she had found on the Internet site
    Michael J. Anderson, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly luring her to his Savage home, shooting her once in his bedroom and abandoning her body in the trunk of her car at a nearby park.

    Savage Police Capt. Dave Muelken and his partner, lead investigator Laura Kvasnicka, showed up in uniform and took seats in a pew in the back corner of the church.
    "We didn't want to be a distraction or take away any attention from the celebration of Katherine's life," said Muelken, 51.But Olson's family insisted the officers sit up front with them. Muelken said the bond forged between the police and the family is like nothing he has experienced in 30 years of law enforcement.

    Both officers have photos of Olson on their desks, gifts from the family.
    "It's as if they've adopted us into their family," Muelken said later. "What an incredible service."He said that he only knew Olson since her death, and that to learn about her life "was incredible."

    'Surrounded by a great cloud'

    During the service, Olson's friends and relatives traded anecdotes and watched a slide-show montage of her short life as an actress, singer and lover of life.
    The Rev. Craig E. Johnson, Minneapolis-area bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, told Olson's family: "We are broken-hearted, but we will support you and stand beside you as long as this journey takes."

    He then read a statement from Olson's family, which includes her brother Karl, sister Sarah, mother Nancy and father Rolf, a pastor at Richfield Lutheran Church.
    "The outpouring of grief has come from more places than we can comprehend," they wrote. "We are truly surrounded by a great cloud."

    Sarah Sevcik has been a close friend since Olson's family moved from Duluth to Cottage Grove when she was in fourth grade. She and Katherine Olson attended St. Olaf together, and Sevcik remembered her as "charming, energetic, adventurous, talented, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and humble."
    Other friends read psalms in English and Spanish, a tribute to Olson's studies in Argentina. Early last week, she told friends she was reconsidering her career goal of being a Spanish-English interpreter.

    "She learned the role of an interpreter was to be invisible and behind the scenes and she said: 'That's not me. I'm an actress and I want to be in front,'" her family's statement said. "We do not need to list her immeasurable gifts now lost to this world.
    "We had Katherine light up our lives for 24 years and how bright that light shone."

    Motive still a mystery

    As the officers left the church, they talked about the night shifts they have spent over the years patrolling the community.
    "Then, in broad daylight, someone comes into this community and takes a life away and we're powerless to stop it," Muelken said. "This renewed for us why we pursue every criminal because, behind the crime, is a young woman and it was good for us to hear all the positive things she brought to her life."
    Authorities say the second-degree intentional murder charges Anderson faces could be increased to first-degree murder once a Scott County grand jury is convened.
    Through his attorney, Anderson declined a request for a jail interview Wednesday. Anderson's motive remains a mystery. Police believe he acted alone and had no previous contact with Olson.

    "Whatever caused the trigger to be pulled and the bullet fired was the work of the evil one, not the work of God," Koelln told the throng at the funeral. "What happened to this unsuspecting, caring, trusting individual, we may never know why."Just like we may never know why there had to be such a violent and senseless death," he said. "But we do know that the darkness will not overcome the light."
    Curt Brown • 612-673-4767
    Curt Brown •

    © 2007 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

  14. wow this is really heart goes out to her family. I hope the person who did this get what they deserve...