Authorities are investigating whether a 34-year-old Clarkfield woman, Kelly Jean Anderson — formerly of Hendricks — is the mother of two newborns whose remains were found in a tree grove last fall near Astoria, South Dakota.
On Tuesday, Aug. 13 the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) along with the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff executed a search warrant at Anderson’s home at 804 9th Ave. in Clarkfield. Anderson is currently married to D.J. (Duane) Person, has also been known as Kelly Jean Johnson, Kelly Jean Anderson-Person and Kelly Jean Person. She has been caring for two children between the ages of one and seven.
During the search and after being interviewed for about 90 minutes, Anderson produced a handgun and pointed it at herself. A South Dakota DCI investigator and a Brookings, S.D. police officer conducting the interview struggled with Anderson and the gun fired with no one being injured, according to information released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the YMC Sheriff.
According to the search warrant and supporting affidavit filed in District Court in Yellow Medicine County on Monday, various people reported to South Dakota law enforcement after the fetal remains were discovered on Nov. 2, 2012 that Anderson had appeared pregnant at two different times—once in 2009 and again in 2011—but did not later have a baby. Authorities also have preliminary DNA analysis that Anderson cannot be excluded as the mother of the two infants, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also claims that the remains were found on land owned by Anderson’s aunt, that Anderson had permission to use a cabin located on Fish Lake adjacent to where the remains were found and that one of two men who located the remains—while running trapping lines through the area—was Anderson’s brother.
The exact cause of death for the two “term fetuses” (a baby who was 40 weeks along in development) could not be determined, the affidavit says, but the "manner of death" based on all of the various analyses by himself and others has been classified a homicide by forensic pathologist Dr. Kenneth Snell in Sioux Falls, S.D., due to "the nature in which the remains were discovered." There were remains discovered in a cooler with towels and a garbage bag, and there were remains discovered on the ground near the cooler and other towels and another trash bag, according to the affidavit.
The documents filed Monday detail that, in addition to the DNA swab, authorities during the Aug. 13 search were seeking photos of Anderson in a state of pregnancy between 2008 and 2011 and photos of her wearing a South Dakota State University shirt found with the remains. The warrant also details a search for literature, notes or computer searches related to pregnancy, self-delivery, home delivery, abortion, concealing pregnancy and disposing of human remains. An inventory list shows more than 18 items were seized, including cameras. computers, electronic storage devises and what is described by authorities as a “meth pipe with residue”.
Page 2 of 2 - The search warrant affidavit says Anderson told South Dakota agents in a December interview that she had moved from Hendricks to Clarkfield shortly before she was married in June of 2012. Prior to that, she had lived most of her life in Hendricks, which the affidavit notes is about eight miles from Fish Lake.
The affidavit details various leads that pointed to Anderson after the discovery of the remains, including from people who said they had talked to her about appearing pregnant. The affidavit claims that after a news release was published asking for the public’s assistance in the case law enforcement received nine leads, with six of them identifying Anderson as a possible suspect. One person reported Anderson saying she had a tumor removed, another that she said she was simply fat and not pregnant, and another that she said she had suddenly lost weight due to illness.
During the South Dakota investigation, authorities found that Anderson had previously been a suspect of a child abuse case in Lincoln County after a toddler suspiciously fractured a leg in her unlicensed day care, according to the affidavit. No charges of abuse were brought, but Anderson was cited for running an unlicensed day care.
During a December 2012 interview with the South Dakota DCI, Anderson denied being pregnant in 2009 or in 2011, the affidavit states. She said she had gained and lost some weight, and she denied ever saying she had a tumor. She denied that the babies found on her family member's property were hers and said there was zero chance the DNA in the babies' bones would be connected to her, according to the affidavit.
The DNA swab was successfully collected during the warrant execution on Aug. 13, the inventory documents show, and the affidavit states the DNA swab would be sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification to establish Anderson as the mother of the two infants.
Using a DNA profile of Anderson from an earlier paternity case, the University of North Texas, located in Ft. Worth, had determined that she could be not excluded as the mother of the two newborns. The testing could not determine conclusively that the two newborns were siblings, but they may be maternal relatives, the affidavit states.
The University of North Texas also determined the babies were a male and a female. According to the affidavit, the results showed the male is 77 times more likely to be the child of Anderson than that of an unrelated Caucasian individual. The female is 19 times more likely to be Anderson's child than that of an unrelated Caucasian individual.
As of Tuesday, charges related to the homicide, or the Aug. 13 shooting had not been filed in either South Dakota, or Minnesota. The YMC Sheriff and County Attorney have said that the Minnesota BCA is currently handling investigations in regard to any crime Anderson may have committed in this state.