March 30, 2005

Hudson - O'Connell probe nears completion

River Towns

By Meg Heaton

The Hudson Police Department may be nearing the end of its investigation into the murders of Dan O'Connell and James Ellison.

HPD Chief Dick Trende met with investigators Jeff Knopps and Shawn Pettee and others involved in the case earlier this week to review the information gathered over the three-year investigation.

Last year the investigation began to focus on Father Ryan Erickson's involvement in the case and in a separate investigation into his possible criminal activity involving minors. Erickson, who was an associate pastor at St. Patrick's Church at the time of the murders, committed suicide last December after being questioned about both investigations. He allegedly denied any wrongdoing to friends and in suicide notes he left behind.

Trende said significant information in both investigations has surfaced in recent weeks that has confirmed the department's interest in Erickson, and investigators have been spending time verifying it. Knopps said most of the people they have contacted have cooperated with them, and this has led to new or corroborating information.

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2005 10:13 PM