January 13, 2005

Father Erickson's actions, statements make him suspect

Hudson Star-Observer

By Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer reporter

The Hudson Police Department appears to have had good reason to investigate the late Father Ryan Erickson as a suspect in the February 2002 murders of Dan O'Connell and James Ellison as well as other crimes.

From information obtained at the Hudson Police Department, the Star-Observer has learned that Erickson was interviewed twice last year -- Nov. 11 and Dec. 7 -- prior to the early December search of his residence in Hurley.

Hudson Police Chief Dick Trende confirmed Tuesday that Erickson was the subject of an investigation into possible improper and criminal activity with minors before he was ever considered a "person of interest" in the O'Connell/Ellison murder investigation. It was through facts gathered in that investigation that police began to look at him in connection with the murders.

Trende said inconsistencies in Erickson's statements to police during their interviews with him raised suspicions that ultimately led them to seek the search warrant. St. Croix County Judge Scott Needham sealed the search warrant shortly after Erickson's death to protect the ongoing investigation.

Posted by kshaw at January 13, 2005 07:01 AM