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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > General Articles > MN: UID found in burn pit with Edwin Hawes

Title: MN: UID found in burn pit with Edwin Hawes

tatertot - February 12, 2010 01:57 PM (GMT)

Extra human bones found in fire pit with murder victim
Investigators say an extra fibula and jawbone were found when the remains of a murder victim were recovered in Cottonwood County.
By DAVID CHANEN, Star Tribune
Last update: February 11, 2010 - 11:38 PM

An extra fibula and jawbone have investigators wondering who else was burned in the fire pit where Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes are believed to have taken their brother's body after he was brutally murdered at his Andover home.

The bones, including the partial remains of Edwin Hawes, were discovered more than a year ago when police officers checked out an illegally burning bonfire on Andrew Hawes' farm in Cottonwood County, nearly 200 miles from the Twin Cities. When the medical examiner and a forensic anthropologist reconstructed Edwin Hawes' remains, they discovered three extra human bones.

Mixed in the fire pit were a left eye orbit, a fibula and part of a lower jaw. It wasn't until three months ago that the Cottonwood County sheriff's office was notified about them, which triggered a fresh search of the fire pit. Deputies found several small bone fragments, according to the search warrant filed in Cottonwood County in November.

Investigators know little about the bones, including how long they had been at the site. They are waiting for DNA testing to put a name or names to the remains. And they haven't been able to talk to Elizabeth Hawes, who was convicted last month in her brother's death, or to Andrew and his fiancée, Kristina Dorniden, who also are charged, because of pending trials or testimony they might have to provide, authorities said.

Until there is more information, Cottonwood County Sheriff Jason Purrington said Thursday, he couldn't label the case a suspicious death or homicide.

"It obviously sounds suspicious, but we want to make sure we have all the info before we make a call," he said.

The three charged in Edwin's death haven't been accused of any crime involving the other bones, but Purrington didn't rule out talking to them about the case.

All three were in the truck that was driven with Edwin's body to the farm in late October 2008.

During Elizabeth Hawes' trial last month, prosecutors said evidence showed that Andrew burned it.

She was convicted of first-degree murder aiding and abetting and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Then, in one of the many continuing twists in the case, Andrew Hawes told his lawyers last week that he would waive his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and testify about his "personal knowledge" of Edwin's death, including that his sister played no role in planning it.

Edwin Hawes was beaten with a bat, shot in the chest with a crossbow and run over with his own car.

Andrew's trial is scheduled for April. Bryan Leary, Hawes' public defender, said Thursday that he had no comment.

During her trial, Elizabeth Hawes testified that Andrew built the fire in the fire pit and that "he slid something out of the truck that looked like my brother wrapped in a brown, fuzzy blanket."

"I kept thinking to myself, 'How could this get any worse?' she said in court. "Why am I in the middle of a Stephen King thing? Why isn't my life normal?"

The November search warrant said that Susan Myster, a forensic anthropologist, located three "presumed duplicated and/or inconsistent elements."

A human body wouldn't have two jaw bones and two left eye sockets and three fibulas, the court document said.

She also consulted with a biological anthropologist and an archaeologist and confirmed "a minimum of two partial human bodies were present in the fire pit."

The bone fragments found in the pit were too small for DNA testing, Purrington said. Fabric and hair were also found during the search.

The sheriff's office is working with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"We are kind of at a stall stage right now," Purrington said.

tatertot - February 13, 2010 11:59 AM (GMT)

Published February 13 2010
Evidence of second human body in Westbrook fire pit is revealed
By: Justine Wettschreck, Worthington Daily Globe

WESTBROOK — If Westbrook residents were shocked to learn a dead body had been put in a bonfire in October 2008 so alleged murderers could dispose of evidence, they were probably stunned to learn the medical examiner had informed the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office in November 2009 there were more bones than there should be.

Cottonwood County Sheriff Jason Purrington said Friday his office was contacted by Anoka County in November regarding the human remains of Edwin Hawes, who was allegedly murdered near his home in Andover. The body was allegedly transported to rural Westbrook and put in a fire pit. Edwin Hawes’ sister Elizabeth Hawes, brother Andrew Hawes and Andrew’s girlfriend Kristina Dorniden were each charged in Edwin’s death.

The forensic anthropologist who reconstructed and examined the partial skeleton remains of Edwin Hawes located three inconsistent bones. Part of a left eye socket, part of a jawbone and a fragmented piece of fibula, all of which were already accounted for in Hawes’ remains, were discovered from the evidence that was recovered at the scene.

“We were contacted, then obtained a search warrant and went back out to the original site,” Purrington reported Friday. “We were looking for additional evidence or bones. We did find some small bone fragments, but they are too tiny to say if they were from the homicide victim or from the same source as the extra bones.”

According to the warrant application, the third fibula had greater fire damage and was not consistent in size with the other two belonging to Edwin.

“Based upon this discovery,” the application states, “(the doctor) has concluded a minimum of two partial human bodies were present in the fire pit.”

When asked why information about a possible second victim was not released sooner, Purrington said his office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and Anoka County authorities wanted to look into the situation deeper.

“We are not calling it a homicide right now and we are not sure of all the circumstances,” Purrington explained. “There are questions we want to answer before we label it one way or another.”

Purrington’s office is still in charge of the case, and it is currently still under investigation.

He seemed doubtful that DNA evidence would be obtained from the bone fragments located during either search, but said the medical examiner has control of that part of the investigation. He has only seen pictures of the extra bones, he said.

Elizabeth Hawes was convicted in January of first-degree murder aiding and abetting and sentenced to life in prison without parole, but last week Andrew Hawes reportedly told his attorneys he would waive his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and testify about his knowledge of Edwin’s death. He has stated his sister played no role in planning it. His own trial is scheduled for April.

“There are twists and turns everywhere,” Purrington commented.

Edwin was last seen around 6 p.m. Oct. 29, 2008, at a fitness center in Coon Rapids, according to a criminal complaint, and a neighbor heard multiple raised voices outside Edwin’s home at approximately 7 p.m.

A deputy discovered Edwin’s wallet in the road and brought it to his home, noting a large bloodstain on the driveway but attributing the stain to the cleaning of a deer.

After a roommate reported him missing on the afternoon of Oct. 30, 2008, raising concerns about the blood stain. A medical examiner said the volume of blood at the scene would be a critical loss for a human to endure, the complaint states. Within the pool of blood, authorities found a key to the Andover home, a pair of pants and a broadhead from an arrow.

When Hawes body was recovered in Westbrook, the medical examiner reportedly found a wound in his chest that could have been caused by an arrow.

An investigation turned up the information that Hawes had taken ownership of land near Westbrook in 2003. An Anoka County deputy asked Westbrook Police Chief Alan Wahl to investigate. Wahl went to the property and observed a large illegal fire. Andrew Hawes was at the scene, and Wahl spoke to him regarding the fire and left. He returned with additional law enforcement at 1 a.m. Oct. 31, 2008, and found Elizabeth at the scene. When asked about the fire, she reported stated, “That’s not my brother.”

She was taken into custody, and while authorities froze the scene and applied for a search warrant, Dorniden arrived in a truck with a significant amount of blood inside, along with a shoe containing a broken arrow and other evidence.

At the time of his death, Edwin allegedly had a restraining order against both of his siblings. Authorities believe a dispute between the siblings stemmed from Edwin’s distribution of an inheritance from their grandmother.

Nut44x4 - February 13, 2010 09:34 PM (GMT)

burnsjl2003 - February 13, 2010 10:19 PM (GMT)

I could have sworn this 2nd set of remains had a Porchlight case # - I'll keep looking.

tatertot - February 14, 2010 10:58 PM (GMT)
A similar case...KYU091128 was found with the remains of Jeffrey Price in a burn pit:

Nut44x4 - April 30, 2010 08:32 PM (GMT)
Update on the HAWES case......

Andrew Hawes convicted in brother's killing
An Anoka County jury found him guilty of aiding and abetting murder in the first degree. Earlier this year, the brothers' sister also was convicted in the 2008 case.

By PAUL LEVY, Star Tribune
Last update: April 30, 2010 - 2:47 PM
Andrew Hawes was convicted Friday in the killing of the brother he once "worshipped," a man he called "his best friend" and whom Andrew's attorney said he was "so much alike."

On the second day of deliberations, an Anoka County jury found Hawes guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of Edwin Hawes at Edwin's Andover home in October 2008. He will be sentenced next Friday.

Andrew, 38, was the second sibling to be convicted in a tragic family saga. Elizabeth Hawes, 45, was found guilty in January of aiding and abetting first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. A third person, Andrew's fiancée, Kristina Dorniden, also has been charged and awaits trial in June.

Edwin Hawes, 46, was shot with a crossbow, bludgeoned and beaten, and run over with his car at his home on Oct. 29, 2008. His brother and his sister then took his body to a farm 200 miles away, where it was burned in a fire pit.

Andrew's fingerprints were not found on the crossbow; nobody's were. But Andrew testified that he accidentally backed the car over his brother, later dragged Edwin's body into the fire pit and started the fire.

Asked about Andrew Hawes' reaction to Friday's verdict, public defender Bryan Leary said: "He said he wasn't expecting that at all. He expected [to be convicted] accomplice after the fact."

During the two-week trial, Andrew testified that it was his brother-in-law, Daniel Romig, who killed Edwin, a claim Romig's attorney has dismissed. Romig has not been charged in the case.

Prosecutors contended that the killing was the culmination of a family schism, with Andrew believing that Edwin had embezzled more than $1 million from a family lawn-care business.

In March of 2007, after a computer trail had convinced Andrew that Edwin was writing company checks that had nothing to do with the lawn service, he ransacked his brother's office and left a threatening note, Andrew testified. Edwin never returned to the company.

Prosecutors Paul Young and Deidre Aanstad said that the company that Andrew began as a teenager and turned into a multi-million dollar outfit was heavily in debt and near dissolution.

Andrew and Elizabeth sought to have Edwin charged with embezzling, but there were no charges.

Testimony indicated that a key item in the case was a company car.

Edwin had a Volkswagen Passat that Hawes Lawn Service had financed. Andrew wanted it back. Edwin was doing everything possible to avoid having it repossessed, Andrew testified.

"These brothers were so much alike," Jennifer Pradt, one of Andrew's two public defenders, said in her closing argument Thursday. "They were both stubborn and nobody was going to give in."

So Andrew devised a plan. Pradt told the jury that on the night of the killing, he sought to surprise Edwin at his home with the intent of quickly getting the car. But in her closing argument, Aaanstad said the plan called for an ambush, in which Edwin would be killed.

Andrew testified that it was Romig who confronted Edwin, shot him with the cross bow and then pummeled him with his fist. Expert witnesses said that Edwin was shot from behind, the arrow piercing his lung.

Andrew testified that he did run over his brother's body with the Passat, but said he'd panicked, that it was an accident, that he had no idea what he'd hit.

Pradt and fellow public defender Bryan Leary portrayed Andrew, a diabetic with a thyroid condition, as someone who battled illness often and simply wasn't strong enough to break up the alleged confrontation between Romig, a 300-pounder, and Edwin, who at 180 pounds also was bigger than his brother.

Yet, Andrew testified that he was the one who, after two diabetic attacks hours before, dragged his brother's body out of a pickup truck and threw it into the fire pit. He testified that he ignited the fire.

tatertot - May 1, 2010 09:04 PM (GMT)
:blink: I can't believe the latest article doesn't mention the second body! Surely they didn't "accidentally" kill TWO people and burn them?

burnsjl2003 - May 2, 2010 05:36 PM (GMT)

I was wondering about that too...

tatertot - May 3, 2010 10:53 AM (GMT)

Note in victim's office: 'I'm going to kill you'
The partnership between the Haweses splintered so badly that the older brother bought a gun, a witness said.
By PAUL LEVY, Star Tribune
Last update: April 21, 2010 - 11:21 PM

Edwin Hawes' office had been ransacked, he'd told a friend. As Hawes sifted through his belongings, the friend testified Wednesday in Anoka County court, he discovered a terse note:

"I'm going to kill you," it said, according to testimony.

At the third day of Andrew Hawes' trial in the 2008 killing of his older brother, Edwin, witness after witness testified about how the family's dynamics had deteriorated.

The business partnership between the brothers had splintered so severely that Edwin, 46, eventually bought a gun for protection, said Ursula Weltman. She urged Edwin to move, she testified. She asked him to live with her ailing father at his Andover home.

Andrew Hawes, 37, and his sister, Elizabeth, had accused Edwin of embezzling $1 million of the family's business and personal trust funds, several witnesses testified. The siblings talked about Edwin using a dead relative's name to get at family money, said Bryan Leary, a member of Andrew's team of public defenders.

Glen Bona, a special agent with the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service, wrote in a 2008 report that "Ed Hawes appears to have taken money from his grandmother without her best interests in mind" -- a report that Leary read for emphasis before Judge Sharon Hall and the jury.

But when Bona told Andrew and Elizabeth that the statute of limitations had run out on funds allegedly mishandled between 2000 and 2002 and that the state court of appeals declined to review the case, Elizabeth became upset, but her "demeanor wasn't as fidgety and agitated as Andy," Bona testified Wednesday. During one phone call, Bona said, Andrew told him "his brother Ed had tried to poison him by making special water" and asking Andrew to drink it.

Andrew Hawes' attorneys say it was his brother-in-law, Daniel Romig, who shot Edwin with a crossbow in late October 2008 and then apparently bludgeoned him with a hammer. A bloodied hammer later was found in the locked trunk of Edwin's car. But Romig, Elizabeth Hawes' husband, has not been charged, and, on Wednesday, every investigator called to the witness stand testified, when asked by the prosecution, of not being familiar with Romig's name. Romig's lawyer has dismissed the allegation.

In the days after Edwin's killing, Anoka County deputies discovered a crossbow, arrows and a baseball bat on or near the property. All were spray-painted black, the jury was told Wednesday morning. What the jury did not hear was that black spray paint was found in the garage of the residence in which Andrew Hawes was living at the time.

Leary told Judge Hall before the jury entered the courtroom that there is no evidence that Hawes spray-painted any of the items. Hall responded by saying "it was circumstantial evidence" but "appropriate evidence."

In January, Elizabeth Hawes, 45, was convicted of first-degree murder in the case and sentenced to life without parole. She and Andrew are accused of transporting Edwin's body to a farm 200 miles away, where his remains allegedly were burned in a fire pit. Andrew's fiancée, Kristina Dorniden, also is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder.

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