Local man charged with murder
Michael Lee LaFlex is charged with second degree murder in the killing of his daughter's boyfriend.
BRAINERD — A 45-year-old Center Township man, who lives north of Merrfield, was charged with second degree murder in the killing of his daughter’s boyfriend.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office, 23-year-old Bryce Brogle was reported missing Friday, Oct. 28, after having gone to a storage unit rented by Michael Lee LaFlex two days earlier.
During the investigation, LaFlex initially told law enforcement Brogle had been arrested by unknown law enforcement and that Brogle had two cellphones confiscated by law enforcement. LaFlex later changed his story, saying he disposed of the phones in a garbage can at a gas station in Brainerd. Investigating law enforcement officers later found the phones.
Further investigation, according to the criminal complaint, included information gained from a concerned citizen, who wished to remain anonymous but was known to law enforcement. The citizen had occasional conversation throughout Saturday evening with a family member of LaFlex. The family member said LaFlex disclosed details of the incident with them, including that LaFlex believed Brogle had been abusing LaFlex’s daughter. According to the citizen, the family member learned LaFlex shot Brogle at a storage unit complex in Crow Wing County on or around the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 26, and subsequently moved the body using a sled. LaFlex then cleaned the storage unit with bleach and told the family member he disposed of the body and Brogle would not be found as the body was buried, according to the complaint.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at LaFlex’s storage unit Saturday, Oct. 29, and recovered a substance testing positive for blood on the floor, along with a bottle of bleach. There were also marks on the concrete floor that appeared consistent with something of a similar width of a sled being dragged across the floor.
Law enforcement conducted a foot search of public land in Crow Wing County Sunday in search of Brogle’s body. They identified a possible gravesite and excavated a body with an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head. The body, later identified as Brogle’s, was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, which determined the cause of death to be a distant gunshot wound to the back of the head.
According to the criminal complaint, during the investigation the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from the landlord of Brogle and LaFlex’s daughter. The landlord disclosed LaFlex had called to ask if Brogle had hurt his daughter. The landlord admitted to witnessing possible signs of abuse. LaFlex then told the landlord he was going to kill Brogle and had already dug the hole, the criminal complaint stated.
LaFlex was booked in Crow Wing County Jail Saturday and is scheduled to make his first appearance in Crow Wing County District Court at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.