MOORHEAD — A fourth person faces criminal charges in connection to the death of a teenager at a Moorhead apartment after allegedly telling police he told the accused killer how to cover up evidence, court documents say.
An arrest warrant was issued late Friday, April 24, for Brandon Everett Leroy Erbstoesser, 33, of West Fargo, after he was charged with two felony counts of second-degree aiding an offender with murder. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge in relation to the death of 19-year-old Dystynee Avery, who died on or about April 4, prosecutors said in court documents.
Erbstoesser was booked Monday, April 27, into the Cass County Jail, where he is awaiting extradition to Clay County.
A criminal complaint details how Erbstoesser spoke over the phone with 27-year-old Ethan Martin Broad of Moorhead, who has been charged with second-degree murder, the morning after Avery’s death. Broad called Erbstoesser, told him about the death and asked what he should do, the complaint said.
“Erbstoesser admitted that he advised Broad he should report the victim as missing, tell her family she ran away, hide or destroy her property and refrain from any electronic communication regarding the incident,” the complaint said.
Erbstoesser also told investigators he went to the apartment shortly after Avery’s death and helped Broad and Andrea Catherine Payne, 26, of Moorhead make sure no blood was visible and helped them make sure none of Avery’s property was there, the complaint alleged.
Payne and 22-year-old David Marvin Erno of Moorhead each face one count of aiding in murder. Payne was living with Avery and Broad at the time of Avery's death. Court documents allege Payne was at the apartment when Avery and Broad were arguing.
Payne allegedly left the apartment after hearing several strikes or thumps come from a bedroom and Broad told Payne he cracked Avery’s skull, according to court documents. During that time, Broad dragged Avery’s body to his garage, dismembered her body and put her remains in apartment dumpsters, court documents alleged.
Payne and Erno came back to the apartment several hours later, and Erno grabbed Avery’s computer and eventually wiped it clean, according to court documents.
Payne initially told police she didn’t know what happened but later acknowledged being involved in the cover-up, court documents allege. Payne told police she thought Avery was missing but didn't know where Avery was, adding that she believed Avery hitchhiked to Colorado or Texas, according to court documents.
She later told authorities she told Erbstoesser about the death and that he came to the apartment.
Investigators spoke with Erbstoesser on April 17, the same night Broad was arrested. On Monday, the U.S. Marshals Service and West Fargo police took Erbstoesser into custody in West Fargo, authorities said.
It's unclear how Erbstoesser knew Broad and Payne, or if he was acquainted with Avery. Avery's family and friends have said Avery was close friends with Broad, Erno and Payne. Avery kept in contact with her sister, Valarie Parker, consistently after the teen moved to Moorhead a year and a half ago.
Parker told The Forum she didn't know who Erbstoesser was, and she didn't know if Avery was acquainted with him.
Moorhead police announced Monday that remains found last week at the Clay County landfill near Hawley, Minn., were confirmed to be Avery's. The investigation into her death remains active, Capt. Deric Swenson said Monday. He said he didn't know if more suspects would be arrested in connection to the case.
Payne, Erno and Broad are being held in the Clay County Jail. Broad would have to post a $1 million bond to be released without conditions, while Payne and Erno would need to pay $500,000 each.