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A Winona County grand jury handed down a first-degree murder indictment Tuesday against Kyle Benjamin Allers.

Allers, 24, is accused in the May 12 beating and strangulation death of Tasha Lynn Hanson near Lewiston.

The grand jury indictment carries the designation that the murder was the culmination of a pattern of domestic abuse; Allers and Hanson were in a relationship, shared a home and had two children, ages 1 and 3, at the time of Hanson’s death.

Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman said that Hanson was the sixth Minnesotan to die of domestic violence in 2016. Thirty-four people died as a result of domestic violence in 2015.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Allers in May, Allers admitted to family members he killed Hanson, 24, after the two had gotten into a fight. He concealed the woman’s body in a wooded area near Lewiston.

The investigation began after member of Allers’ family contacted law enforcement to relay fears that Allers had killed Hanson. According to court documents, Allers had visited family members in the early hours of Thursday, May 12.

At that time he told family members he had gotten into a fight with Hanson. He was shaky and asking for help, and when a family member asked about killing Hanson, he repeatedly said, “She’s gone,” eventually stating, “She’s gone forever,” according to court documents.

A family member went to Allers‘ residence the next day, court documents state, and directly asked if he had killed Hanson. Allers nodded, “inferring to his family member that he did kill her.” The family member subsequently contacted law enforcement.

Allers had discussed disposing of Hanson’s body with this family member, wanting to find a location where no one else would go, because he was concerned that hunters might find the body, according to court documents. Allers suggested two possible locations and that information was passed along to law enforcement and proved vital to locating Hanson’s body.

In addition to the first-degree murder count, Allers faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree manslaughter. He faces a sentence of life in prison if convicted on the first-degree murder charge.

Allers made his intitial court appearance Tuesday on the charges named in the indictment. He remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bond.

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