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Police say kids ran into street for help after their mother was murdered

31-year-old Anders Odegaard is charged with murder. Police say Carissa Odegaard was holding the couple's 3-year-old son during the attack.

Carissa Odegaard
Carissa Odegaard, who is pictured here with her five children, died following an assault Tuesday, Aug. 23. Her ex-husband, Anders Odegaard, was arrested and charged with the crime.
Submitted
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WARREN, Minn. — A former North Dakota prosecutor and defense attorney has been charged with the murder of his ex-wfie.

Anders Odegaard, 31, was formally charged with second-degree murder in Marshall County court on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Deputies were called to 128 Division St. S. on Tuesday afternoon for a report of a domestic disturbance in progress.

Two boys, later identified as sons of Anders and Carissa Odegaard, had stopped a man driving near their home and told the man their mom was inside the house, laying on the floor and bleeding badly.

One of the boys thought their mom was dead.

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The first deputy who went in the house found Anders Odegaard wearing only underwear and had blood on his head, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

The deputy said he asked Anders Odegaard what was going on, and his reply was, "I don't feel right."

The deputy then spotted Carissa Odegaard on the floor and unresponsive in the doorway. When he checked on her, she was not breathing, and blood was pooling out of her head, the complaint said.

Police noticed the washing machine was running with a fresh load of clothing.

Deputies said they asked Anders Odegaard what happened, and his response again was "I don't feel right."

Deputies took the couple's five children back to the sheriff's office to be interviewed.

The youngest child told deputies he saw everything, because his mom was holding him during the attack, according to the criminal complaint.

The couple's 9-year-old son said the attack started when his mom came to pick him up after he had stayed at the house the previous night. He said his dad started attacking his mom with either a knife or spatula.

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He told police that his dad had beaten his mom in the past, but usually with his hands, the complaint said.

The couple's 8-year-old son said the fight started when his mom came to pick up him and his brother for church. He said the fight started in the backyard, and his dad did not want the kids to leave. He went on to tell officers that his parents were tackling each other, and then his dad started choking his mom. He also told police that they had to clean blood off of their 3-year-old brother.

The couple's other two children were in the car during the assault.

If convicted, Odegaard faces up to 40 years in prison.

The Odegaards finalized a divorce last year, and each had custody of the children.

They were due in court again next week for a divorce review hearing.

Anders Odegaard was appointed Mercer County prosecutor in the summer of 2021, but he was fired after three months.

Anders Odegaard
Anders Odegaard
Marshall County Sheriff's Department

The county commission never stated publicly why he was let go.

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He then served as a public defender in Stark County and again was fired after a few months on the job.

According to a social media post by Gurstel Law Firm P.C., Anders Odegaard was hired six months ago to work in their Golden Valley, Minnesota, office.

The firm confirmed he is no longer employed there.

The University of North Dakota law grad said he practiced criminal law, regulatory, session laws, securities litigation and investment contracts, in-house counsel compliance and family law.

In the post, Anders Odegaard said he enjoys outdoor activities including golf, water sports, parks and recreation.

Neighbors said Anders Odegaard always concealed his identity in public and would often sit in his car for hours and do nothing.

A GoFundMe has been setup to help the family of Carissa Odegaard.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSMINNESOTA
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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