By Jon Tatting
ECM Post Review, North Branch
Authorities and the family of Danielle Jelinek are asking for the public’s help in locating the 27-year-old Oakdale woman who was last seen Saturday, Dec. 8 at a Chisago Lake Township residence.
Jelinek has not been seen or heard from since, warranting concern for her welfare, according to a crime alert released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan held a news conference Wednesday afternoon at Moody Lake Park, near the intersection of Lofton Avenue and 242nd Street, Chisago Lake Township, where more than 100 volunteers joined authorities, including a State Patrol helicopter, in an extensive ground search that lasted until dark.
The group, challenged by the deep snow that fell over the weekend, swelled to over 300 volunteers Thursday as they continued to search in all directions surrounding the residence in the 11200 block of 261st Street, just off Lofton Avenue, Duncan said.
Authorities were initially drawn to the case Sunday afternoon when family requested a welfare check at the home, belonging to Aaron Schnagl, who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Jelinek, Duncan said.
Uncooperative during the check, the sheriff continued, Schnagl was eventually arrested for 5th degree drug possession when authorities visited the residence again, this time with a search warrant, and found drugs and items including Jelinek’s purse, shoes and cell phone inside his home. Her car was also parked outside the residence.
Schnagl, whose possession arrest violated an existing probation order, has been transported to the Anoka County jail where he is currently in custody. “He is a suspect for drug possession, but we’re focused on him as a point of interest (in Jelinek’s disappearance),” Duncan clarified.
Meantime, the Chisago County Attorney’s Office is also involved in the case, and the sheriff’s office has followed up on a number of other leads through individual interviews.
Authorities are asking people to keep an eye out for Jelinek (5’4″, 120 lbs., dark hair and brown eyes) on their properties or other places someone might seek shelter. They and family members are urging anyone with information about her disappearance or whereabouts to call 911 or the Chicago County Sheriff’s Office at 651-257-4100.
“She never goes a day without talking to her mom,” a shaken family member said Wednesday. In fact, family including Jelinek’s cousin Andrew Lawrence, of Inver Grove Heights, noted it’s highly unusual for Danielle to leave over an extended amount of time without notifying anyone.