Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Illicit List: Crime and Craigslist

The Death Of Katherine Olson

Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson

When she arrived for the job, Anderson lured Olson upstairs, then shot her in the back with his father's .357 handgun. A bullet hit the right side of her back and traveled to her left abdomen. It tore through her spinal column, pancreas, intestines and stomach but did not initially kill her. Police would later find the gun and shell in that blood-stained room.

There were no signs of sexual assault.

He dragged her downstairs and there tied her ankles with red twine. He later cleaned the trail of blood from the steps, but not the risers in between.

He then wrapped Olson's body in a sleeping bag and stuck it in her trunk. He drove her car just a few block to Kraemer Nature Preserve, in Burnsville, and parked it there, leaving her to slowly bleed to death.

When he got home from his the airport job hours later, he casually asked his mother, Barbara, to wash his bloodied jacket. He told her had spilled jet fuel on it.

The next day, a Savage resident found a purse in a trashcan in Pacer Park and turned it in to police. Police called Olson's home to return the purse. When her roommate got the message, she called back to tell police that she thought Olson was missing. Police went again to the park, re-checked the area, and found a bloodied bag full of towels in a trashcan. Anderson's name was scrawled in magic marker on one of the towels. Olson's cell phone was there, too.

Cell phone records show the two talked Thursday morning. The Craigslist ad was traced to Anderson's email account. He denied having used the site in several months, and he told police his mother and a few friends had access to his account. In the face of mounting evidence, he eventually admitted that he'd been present at the murder, but claimed that a friend who "thought it might be funny" actually killed Olson.

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