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Police say man charged with girlfriend’s death

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ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — An Andover man tried to make his girlfriend’s death look like a motorcycle accident, authorities alleged Monday.

Ryan Patrick Boland, 33, was charged with second-degree intentional murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of Natasha Waalen, 28. She was found dead early Friday on a street in Andover. Her body was several feet away from her motorcycle. She was barefoot, with no ID.

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Police quickly suspected her injuries were not consistent with a motorcycle accident.

The medical examiner determined that Waalen died of blunt force trauma as a result of multiple blows to the head. She also had defensive wounds on the back of each hand. She had no cuts, scrapes or other markings on her feet, which authorities would expect to see in someone riding a motorcycle barefoot. She also had a red "tie down" strap intertwined around her body and arms. Investigators suspect her body had been strapped to her bike before the crash.

According to the criminal complaint, police say Boland admitted arguing with Waalen on Thursday night, but claimed it never got physical.

Investigators found it odd, however, that Boland was wearing a sweat shirt on a warm night, and they found scratches on his hands and shoulders. They also found evidence of blood in the garage of the home he and Waalen shared, and some carpet with a portion of it cut out. Police later found a piece matching the carpet from the home in trash bin one-half mile from the home.

Police believe Boland killed Waalen during an argument in their garage around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, then tried to stage the motorcycle accident a couple of hours later with the help of his brother, who was arrested over the weekend.

Cindy Erickson, Waalen’s mother, said she believes her daughter’s death was the final result of a long-term abusive relationship.

"Horrible, it’s been a nightmare for her," Erickson said. "Many times she’d come to stay with me. A few times she went back, and he would never leave."

Boland and Waalen are the parents of a 4-year-old girl. Relatives said she was being taken care of by the suspect’s parents.

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Waalen friend, Tierza Langston, said Waalen worked with developmentally disabled people at Achieve Services, Inc.

"She had an absolute heart of gold," she said.

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