Stabbing victim's body found early Saturday morning in Maplewood park

Anna Hurd was former North High student

Maplewood police responded to the area of McKnight Road and Ripley Avenue following the report of a person requiring medical attention at 4:32 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim, North St. Paul resident Anna Hurd, 16, deceased at Hillside Park.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy and preliminarily ruled Hurd's death "the result of several stabbing-type puncture wounds," according to the Maplewood Police Department. Maplewood police have stated they will not release additional information regarding the weapon or location and severity of the wounds.

A crime alert has been distributed in the neighborhoods surrounding Hillside Park in an effort by Maplewood police to reach out to residents who may have information regarding the incident. The park is located near the intersection of McKnight Road and Holloway Avenue on the border of Maplewood and North St. Paul. It is a passive-use park with wetlands, woods and a walking path.  

According to other media reports, Hurd lived with her father, Patrick, about five blocks from Hillside Park. Her mother and two sisters live in Texas, and Hurd had been staying with her father in Minnesota for the past year. She was expected to return to Texas to be with her mother and sisters the next day.

Her father told authorities he last Anna on Feb. 21 before her boyfriend picked her up.

Hurd reportedly left her boyfriend's home, about six blocks from her own, the night she was killed. She was a North High School student, but had been expelled following a fight with another female student during which she hit a female teacher, according to other media reports.

North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District 622 communications director Jennifer McNeil could not release information regarding Hurd's expulsion due to the district's privacy policy, but explained that the district was "deeply saddened by the tragic events."

"We will have our school and district social workers, psychologists and counselors on hand to talk with any student who may need to speak to a caring adult," McNeil added.

Originally, the police were searching for an unidentified white male with blond hair who was seen in the area, but have since determined he is no longer a person of interest. No further suspects have been identified, but police detectives, state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents and crime lab personnel will continue the investigation in search of another suspect.

In a television interview with WCCO, Hurd's mother, Jennifer Hutchins, stated that she had spoken with her daughter earlier that day, just hours before her body was discovered. She said Hurd was excited to return to Texas, but wanted to say goodbye to all her friends that evening. During the interview, Hutchins expressed her grief over the loss of her daughter, whom she described as "charismatic" and "bubbly."

"It was such a brutal death; that's what makes it harder. I can't get past that. My baby was alone and dying out here," Hutchins said.

Hurd's friends and family gathered to hold a vigil on Monday, Feb. 25, at Hillside Park. Hurd's father is offering a $2,000 cash reward for information leading to a conviction. Additionally, a memorial fund in Anna's name has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank.

Anyone with information should contact the Maplewood Police Department through the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center at 651-767-0640.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.
 

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