Amber Alert Canceled: body of missing 5-year-old found in Minnesota

UPDATE: Authorities have found the body of a 5-year-old Minnesota girl just hours after they had issued an Amber Alert saying she had been abducted by a family friend.

The body of Alayna Jeanne Erle was found in Cass County, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis. The suspect in her disappearance, family friend Zachary Anderson, 26, has been arrested along with a vehicle, police say.

They say Anderson was staying overnight at the girl’s home. The girl’s mother discovered them gone at 8 a.m. The girl was from Watkins, about 75 miles west of Minneapolis.

No other details were immediately available.


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An Amber Alert has been issued for a 5-year-old girl who was taken from her home in Minnesota.

According to the Center of Missing and Exploited children, Alayna Ertl was last seen at her home in Watkins, Meeker County, around 2 a.m. Saturday. Alayna is described as a 45-pound, white girl with shoulder-length, sandy blonde hair.

Authorities said Alayna was possibly taken by a family friend, 26-year-old Zachary Anderson. He is described as a 5’10, 200 pound white male with dark hair and a shaggy short beard. Authorities said he may be wearing a black T-shirt saying ‘Riverside MN Softball.”

Anderson was spending the night at the Ertls’ house. Alayna’s mother told authorities she put her daughter to bed at 2 a.m. and discovered that Anderson and Alayna were gone at about 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Authorities said Anderson took Alayna’s dad’s work truck, a white 2002 Sierra GMC with a license plate of 107 KMT, and cellphone.  The cellphone pinged in Todd County around 9 a.m. Sunday but has since been turned off.

If you have any information on Alayna and Anderson’s whereabouts, call 911 or the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office at 320-693-5400.