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Woodbury teen death: 'People are going to pay,' county attorney says

Woodbury police are investigating the death of a 17-year-old Woodbury girl.

Woodbury Public Safety spokeswoman Michelle Okada said the girl was found unresponsive at a home in the 3000 block of Commonwealth Avenue the morning of Saturday, Jan. 11, and was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where she was pronounced dead.

Multiple sources confirmed the girl was Tara E. Fitzgerald, a Woodbury High School student.

Three males – two juveniles and an adult – were arrested on suspicion of murder but were subsequently released. No information was available on the juveniles arrested; the adult suspect, an 18-year-old from Woodbury, was booked into Washington County jail on suspicion of third-degree murder and two drug possession charges.

“Anytime we have a healthy young person pass away it is suspicious and it is under investigation,” Okada said.

She said the three males were released from custody “pending further investigation.”

Some of the suspects have been cooperating with police in the investigation, said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.

He said that though the males have been released from custody, it does not mean the investigation has relaxed and that formal charges are expected in the case.

"People are going to pay for this," Orput said.

Okada added that there is no concern for public safety.

An autopsy is under way. Okada said police are awaiting toxicology results, which could take up to two months.

Orput said those results will help put more pieces of the puzzle together and dictate the formal charges.

According to a St. Paul Pioneer Press obituary, Fitzgerald was remembered as an avid skateboarder who enjoyed baking and British Culture.

“It’s a tragic event anytime we lose a young person in our community,” Okada said.