Police Reports Reveal New Details in Park Rapids Murder - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Police Reports Reveal New Details in Park Rapids Murder

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A Menahga man faces murder charges after police say he admitted to strangling a 19-year-old Park Rapids woman over the weekend.

Harley David Leritz, 21, is charged with second-degree intentional murder in connection to the death of Kiela Knowles.  Knowles was found dead in her Park Rapids apartment Monday morning. 

Knowles' father called police after going to check on his daughter Monday morning and finding her body.

According to the criminal complaint officers with the Park Rapids Police Department found Knowles with a pillow over her face.  An autopsy confirmed she died of asphyxiation by strangulation.

Investigators determined that Leritz was the last person seen with Knowles on Sunday. Surveillance video at the apartment complex at 113 3rd Street East. showed Leritz coming and going from the building several times that day. 

When he returned to the apartment on Monday afternoon, police found him, and he agreed to go to the police department. There, Leritz told officers that he had sexual relations with the victim and that he killed her by choking her for 20-30 minutes, the criminal complaint said. 

If convicted of the second-degree murder charge, Leritz could face a penalty of 40 years in prison. He also has a prior conviction for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from 2012.

On Wednesday, Leritz appeared in court, and a judge set his bail at $1,500,000. His next court appearance is slated for March 17.


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