Woman pleads guilty to interference of body, scene for 2021 Dakota County murder

A woman charged in connection with the death of a man whose body was found in a Dakota County culvert will learn her future later this summer after a plea hearing Tuesday morning.

Tomasa Leshae Martinez, 31, of Minneapolis, was initially charged with one count of kidnapping, which carries a 40-year maximum sentence, for her role in the death of a man who was found in a Dakota County culvert in the spring of 2021.

However, court documents state she entered a guilty plea Tuesday to one amended count of interference with a dead body. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 22.

Martinez’s boyfriend – 34-year-old Arturo Morales-Ceras – was charged with intentional second-degree murder in November 2021, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in April, he was sentenced to serve more than 16 years in prison.

The charges against Martinez and Morales-Ceras came after 40-year-oldĀ Ivan Contreras-Sanchez was charged with intentional-second degree murder on November 5, 2021. Contreras-Sanchez was sentenced last summer to 40 years in prison.

A fourth person, Edgar Daniello Martinez-Montez, was sentenced to more than 25 years in the St. Cloud prison last month for his role in the death of 39-year-old Manuel Mandujano.

Mandujano was found in a farming culvert, according to a criminal complaint. A subsequent investigation uncovered a cell phone near the culvert, which law enforcement determined to belong to Contreras-Sanchez.

Information gathered from the cell phone confirmed that Contreras-Sanchez was with Morales-Ceras and Martinez near the culvert on the day of the victim’s death.

Further investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department showed that Martinez was involved with the transportation of the victim, in addition to neglecting to call for help during the victim’s abuse.

Morales-Ceras told police that he and Contreras-Sanchez had forced the victim into a home from a homeless encampment at gunpoint, assaulted him and hammered a roofing nail into his foot. Morales-Ceras and Contreras-Sanchez were questioning the victim about working with the police and “being a snitch,” according to the criminal complaint.