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Police identify body found Friday east of Rochester

The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and Rochester Police Department are jointly investigating the death.

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HAVERHILL TOWNSHIP, Minn. — A body was found in a rural area in Haverhill Township just east of Rochester at 5:51 p.m. Friday, June 17, 2022.

Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a deceased person call in the area of Olmsted County Road 2 and 70th Avenue Northeast in Haverhill Township, according to Capt. James Schueller.

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The call described a body found under a tarp in tall grass adjacent to a farm crop field. The first responding deputy arrived on scene and confirmed a deceased person under the tarp.

Schueller described the condition of the body in an “advanced state of decomposition.” After an autopsy didn’t yield information, the sheriff’s office requested assistance from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The BCA was able to retrieve partial fingerprints from the victim.

On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, officials were able to identify the victim as 28-year-old Tia Mercedes Arleth. She was reported missing to the Rochester Police Department by her mother on June 12.

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The investigation became a joint effort by Rochester police and the sheriff's office after the body was discovered and officials attempted to identify it. Schueller said the sheriff's office asked RPD if any missing persons cases were open — Arleth's was one of two cases RPD had.

Schueller said no severe trauma was found in the initial autopsy, but only referred to the death as suspicious, given the ongoing investigation. A toxicology report is not expected for at least the next few weeks, though Schueller noted that it could take months.

The body was found about a quarter mile from the nearest residence in an area that Schueller described as "difficult to just happen there."

If you have any information, contact Crime Stoppers .

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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