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Body found in Cass County identified as missing Minnesota woman

The Ramsey County sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s help locating Michelle Lee Newell, 45, of Vadnais Heights. Newell is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and has long brown hair. Contact the sheriff’s office at 651-266-7320. (Photo courtesy Ramsey County sheriff's office)1 / 2
Timothy James Barr, 51, of St. Paul was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 by St. Paul police on suspicion of murder. Photo courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.2 / 2

FARGO — Human remains found in rural Cass County have been confirmed to be that of a missing woman from Vadnais Heights, Minn., the Cass County Sheriff's Department said in a release on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

Police were led to Michelle Newell's body Dec. 2 by a man who is accused of backing his car over her when she hid under it.

The 45-year-old woman was reported missing in September. The identity of her remains was confirmed by a forensic pathologist at the University of North Dakota.

The man accused of killing her, Timothy Barr, 51, Lakeville, Minn., faces a charge of manslaughter and duty in an accident involving death or injury, according to the Sheriff's Department. He remains in Cass County Jail.

Acquaintances of Barr told Ramsey County Sheriff's Department officials in St. Paul that he told them Newell had stolen a pound of methamphetamine from him and hid it in the woods, according to an affidavit of probable cause. She then tried to hide from him under the car.

Police in North Dakota and South Dakota searched for Newell's body before Barr agreed to show Ramsey County investigators on a map where he hid Newell's remains. The affidavit said it was near a culvert on a minimum maintenance road in the middle of a field in rural Cass County. That's where North Dakota and Cass County investigators found the remains, which included teeth, hair and bones.

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