Knife Sheath In Abduction Case; Mn. Curbs Releases


A knife sheath was found in the mall parking lot where college student Dru Sjodin was abducted while talking on a cell phone, the Minneapolis Star Tribune says. “There was a sheath,” said a source. “Whether it was connected to him will be determined later. It’s been placed into evidence. Initially we thought it was more like a multitool,” but upon examination it appeared to belong to a specific type of knife.

Another investigator, Grand Forks police Sgt. Mike Hedlund, said that videotape from stores in the mall place Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. in the parking lot around the time the 22-year-old University of North Dakota student disappeared. “We wouldn’t just decide this guy was a [known] sex offender and let’s go out and arrest him” in this case, Hedlund said.

Bail for Rodriguez was set at $5 million. A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 4.

Minnesota has changed its practices so that all sex offenders line Rodriguez classfied as Level 3 (highest risk) will be referred to prosecutors for possible civil commitments before they are released from prison. Now, only corrections officials review the cases.

Rodriguez, who was released from prison in May, was not referred for commitment by Corrections Department officials because of his age and good behavior in prison. That was a mistake, said Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian. “Anybody who ranks at Level 3 will be referred to the county attorney and let them make the decision [about civil commitment],” she said. “My concern is we missed somebody [Rodriguez] that could have been committed.”

Since 1988 in Minnesota, 9,692 adults have been convicted of felony sex crimes, 4,360 have been sent to prison, 299 have been referred by corrections officials for commitment, 185 have had prosecutors seek to commit them, and 156 have been committed.


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