28-year-old charged in connection with Waite Park homicide investigation

A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a woman in February.

Jarquez Javon Bedford is currently in custody at Ramsey County Jail on unrelated charges but is now facing one count of second-degree murder for the death of Andrea Cottew, 52, prosecutors say. A Stearns County judge issued a body-only warrant that will hold Bedford in jail until his first court appearance, court officials said.

On Feb. 6, 2023, officers were dispatched to a residence at Park Meadows Apartment Homes for a welfare check. They found Cottew dead in the living room with lacerations to her neck, according to a criminal complaint filed in Stearns County District Court.

RELATED: Woman’s death at Waite Park apartment ruled homicide

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office found her cause of death to be exsanguination due to sharp force injury to the neck.

Investigators also found large amounts of blood throughout the apartment and a bloody kitchen knife in Cottew’s bedroom.

Surveillance video from the previous day showed Cottew entering the apartment building and then Bedford knocking on the door a few moments later, court documents said. Cottew let him into the building and the two talked briefly and then walked toward the door of the first-floor hallway together.

Bedford was seen on the video leaving the building through the back door with his sweatshirt turned inside out. He was then seen coming and going from the building through the first-floor hallway for multiple hours. He used Cottew’s key fob to get in and out of the building but she wasn’t seen on surveillance video, court officials said. He is also seen in surveillance video carrying a bag of trash.

Investigators learned that Bedford had been staying with tenants of an apartment on the third floor of the building.

Bedford was seen on surveillance video going to the apartment on the third floor after leaving Cottew’s apartment, court documents said. When he got to the apartment, one of the tenants asked him where he had been.

Court officials said that Bedford told them he was looking for a job and “one just came right to him.”

During a Mirandized statement, Bedford told investigators multiple details about the case that weren’t known to the public. He denied committing a crime inside Cottew’s apartment but said someone he knew told them they had assaulted and robbed her, court documents add. He then repeatedly changed his statement.

DNA on the handle of the knife matched Bedford. His DNA was also found on Cottew’s purse, a cigarette found in the bedroom, a marijuana blunt found in the living room and a sweatshirt found in the bedroom. a criminal complaint states. Investigators also found apparent blood on the sweatshirt Bedford was seen wearing on surveillance video.

The Waite Park Police Department, Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated this case, which is still ongoing, according to the complaint.