Cold Case Charges Renew Hope for Victim's Family and Friends

September 13, 2017 06:58 PM

A tight-knit group of Minneapolis women said they never thought they'd see justice for their friend's 1983 murder. Then the phone rang Tuesday.

They learned then that Darrel Bruce Rea, 62, had been arrested and charged for killing then-17-year-old Lorri Mesedahl.


"We were all shocked," said Sue Baker. "I think we're all still shocked." 

RELATED: DNA Evidence Leads to Charges in 1983 Murder

The Hennepin County Attorney filed charges against Rea on Monday. The complaint alleges Rea raped the victim and struck her with a blunt object. Prosecutors said Rea left her body near the Soo Line Railroad tracks in North Minneapolis near 28th Avenue.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said it was DNA evidence that finally cracked the case.

"In 1983, we didn't have DNA as a tool and we had some evidence but simply not enough," Freeman said during a press conference Wednesday. The nature of the crime was such that we needed more evidence, we felt, before we could charge him."

Baker and several other close friends of Mesedahl's attended Wednesday's press conference.

"We've waited 34-and-a-half years for this day," Baker said, reading from prepared remarks. "Sadly, Lorri's parents are no longer with us. They were never able to have peace or closure to their daughter's murder."

Baker described Mesedahl as an "All-American girl" who loved her clothes and her friends.

"She was free spirited, always had a smile on her face," Baker said. "She made us laugh."

Baker said this provides a little bit of closure for her and her friends, but that they plan to see the case all the way through until it's finished.

"When he's sentenced, if that day comes, I think that's when it's going to hit for all of us," Baker said.

Rea is being held in jail on $1 million bond.


Kirsten Swanson

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