Michelle Mae, the 35-year-old Outing woman reported missing earlier this month, was likely the victim of a homicide and the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office reports a man is in custody.
Mae was reported missing after her family had no contact from her since Oct. 3. Authorities reported her body was located Tuesday, Oct. 15, on rural private property near Swatara during the execution of a search warrant. Ramsey County’s medical examiner’s preliminary findings conclude the likely cause of death is homicide.
On Oct. 4, upon locating Mae’s 2004 Jeep Liberty, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office reports an investigation and searches began. Mae’s vehicle was transported to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for processing.
On Oct. 5, during the missing person investigation, Joshua Emil Karjala, 34, of Swatara, was arrested for probation violation. Karjala is currently in custody. The rural private property where Mae’s body was found was Karjala’s residence.
Over the course of the following 10 days, numerous agencies participated in daily ground searches and K-9 searches in a 5-mile radius of the location where Mae’s Jeep Liberty was recovered.
Drone searches and water searches were conducted. Search warrants were issued for cell account data. In addition, search warrants were executed at a rural private property near Swatara. Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida reported foul play was believed to be involved in Mae’s disappearance.
On Oct. 15, while executing another search warrant at the rural private property, Mae’s body was located and transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner for autopsy. Toxicology reports are pending.
This investigation will be forwarded to the Aitkin County Attorney.
The Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office reported it again extends its gratitude to the many agencies that assisted in locating Mae: Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Natural Resources, St. Louis County Search and Rescue personnel, Grand Rapids Police Department, the Aitkin County volunteer Search and Rescue, Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.