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Minnesota roundup: Battle Lake police say they doubt child abduction report, but still investigating; 3 more state news stories

BATTLE LAKE, Minn.—Battle Lake police said Sunday that they doubt there was an abduction of a child on Friday.

"As of Sunday morning, April 9, we still have had no reports of anyone missing. At this time we believe that whatever was witnessed may have been either misinterpreted or was a parent picking up their child," the police said in a Facebook post.

"In this case the witnesses were very young and it is difficult to determine factual information," the post said.

However, the police said they would continue to investigate the circumstances of the report "to ensure that we are not overlooking something."

The police said they took the report very serious at first as they should have with any possible abduction.


Boats, helicopter search for missing man in lake in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Using boats and a helicopter, authorities circled Lake Agnes in Alexandria on Sunday, April 9, searching for a man last seen Thursday night.

Clothing and credit cards belonging to Ryan Johnson, 32, of Alexandria, were found along the shore of Lake Agnes on Sunday, Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels said.

Family members, who reported him missing Saturday evening, confirmed the clothing belonged to Johnson.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Water Rescue and Recovery Team was searching Lake Agnes on Sunday. A Life Link helicopter was called in late Sunday afternoon to search from the air.

He had not been found as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Water temperatures of about 50 degrees limited the amount of time divers could spend in the lake.

Johnson was last reported being seen about 11 p.m. Thursday at Fat Daddy's Bar and Grill in Alexandria. He told a friend he was going to walk to The Depot Express, a restaurant and bar along Lake Agnes.

Wyffels said it was not clear if Johnson ever made it to The Depot Express but security camera video would be reviewed to look for signs of Johnson. The walk would have been about two miles.

A cone marked the spot where Johnson's clothes were found, at the base of the some steps leading to the lake.

While it is believed Johnson is in the lake, "we don't know that for sure," Wyffels said


Authorities look for missing Minnesota man, fear for his safety

LITCHFIELD, Minn. — The Meeker County Sheriff's Office cancelled a ground search Sunday morning in central Minnesota about 70 miles west of the Twin Cities for a missing 32-year-old Darwin man although his whereabouts and well-being remain unknown.

The search for John Rassat, who also goes by the name J.D., was launched Saturday afternoon when law enforcement were informed that Rassat had left his residence 11:30 p.m. Friday night on foot and had not been seen since.

Meeker County sheriff's deputies, Meeker County Posse and Meeker County Reserves conducted a ground search Saturday with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol air division and Minnesota Canine Search and Rescue.

The search had been set to resume Sunday, but according to a news release Sunday morning from Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze, Rassat made brief contact with family by phone during the overnight hours.

Although the search was cancelled, Cruze said law enforcement remains concerned for Rassat's safety and his status is still "missing."

Rassat is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 170 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and an orange hat.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Rassat should call the Sheriff's Office at 320-693-5400.


Grain cars on train derail near Fergus Falls

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - No one was injured when a train derailed west of Fergus Falls early Sunday morning, officials said.

The Otter Tail County Dispatch said that around 5 this morning, multiple rail cars hauling grain derailed about five to six miles west of Fergus Falls by the Fergus Falls airport on Highway 210.

Officials say Otter Tail Valley Railroad was working to clean the area and to get all the cars back on the track.

Officials have not released the cause of the derailment or how much grain was spilled.