Posted on Sat, Oct. 26, 2002
Brian Michael Batchelor barely knew Cheryl Lyn Thompson, a young mom who lived nearby in a Burnsville townhome complex. But he liked her car. It was a sporty Saturn with a good stereo.
"He apparently took a liking to the car she drove," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "He told his girlfriend he liked the stereo in the car. For these reasons he apparently concocted a scheme of abduction which led to murder."
The 19-year-old man was charged Friday with multiple murder counts in connection with the death of Thompson, 27, of Burnsville. Defense attorney Tom Blackmar could not be reached for comment.
Batchelor admitted to police that on Monday he suffocated Thompson in a Burnsville park, bound her in duct tape and then dumped her body at a nearby church, according to the criminal complaint. Robbery appears to be a motive, according to documents filed by prosecutors.
Batchelor was acquainted with Thompson because he sometimes lived with his girlfriend who lived in the same neighborhood. He had previously stolen Thompson's 2002 Saturn.
Thompson had a 3-year-old son and lived with her brother at Oakleaf Townhomes in Burnsville. Thompson's brother reported her missing Tuesday.
On the same day, Burnsville police responded to a call of a suspicious person, later identified as Batchelor. Found in his pockets were a TCF Express Teller card and a Discover card in Thompson's name, leading police to arrest him for credit-card fraud. On Wednesday Thompson's body was found.
Here is what Batchelor told police, according to the criminal complaint and news releases: Batchelor said he formulated a plan to steal money from Thompson. He waited for her to get home from work in the early morning hours. When she arrived, he put duct tape over her mouth and a knife in front of her face and told her to get into the passenger seat.
Batchelor then drove her to Terrace Oaks Park, he said, near Burnsville Parkway and County Road 11. He got Thompson out of the car and pulled the duct tape partially off her mouth and asked where she kept her money. He took some cash from her jacket pocket and forced her to tell him her ATM password.
When Thompson saw two joggers across the street, she started to scream. He pushed her down, put the tape back over her mouth and placed his hands over her mouth and nose and pressed as hard as he could for two to 10 minutes until she stopped moving, according to the complaint.
He then wrapped her torso, legs and head with duct tape, put her body in the car and drove to the Destiny Christian Center, where he dumped her body behind the building and covered it with cardboard boxes.
It was roughly what he told his girlfriend he planned. According to the criminal complaint, she told police that Batchelor had told her he was going to approach Thompson with duct tape and a knife to steal her money and car and that he was thinking about drowning her. He later said he'd changed his mind and was not going to follow through with it.
Batchelor had been arrested several times in Missouri in connection with property crimes and in 2001 pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle there, Backstrom said.
Earlier this month in Dakota County District Court, he pleaded guilty to two counts of auto theft in connection to incidents that occurred in September, at least one of which involved the victim's vehicle. Backstrom said he believed that Batchelor had lived in Minnesota for a few months.
Paula Batchelor, Brian's former stepmother, said in a telephone interview from Missouri on Thursday that he had a history of legal troubles and had been in and out of juvenile detention. She was unaware why he had moved to Minnesota but said at some point he had lived with his mother in Wisconsin.
Charges against Batchelor include two counts of first-degree murder; one pertains to kidnapping, while the other relates to robbery as well as one count of second-degree murder. The case will go to a grand jury within the next month.
Batchelor remains in the Dakota County jail on $500,000 bail. His next court
appearance is Nov. 8.