Two years after an 83-year-old woman and her son were bound and robbed at gunpoint in their home in Kroschel Township, a suspect has been charged with the help of DNA evidence. 

Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith said his investigators sent multiple pieces of evidence to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to be tested for DNA. After many were tested without results, the KCSO team pressed the BCA to test yet one more piece: some duct tape with a strand of hair. On March 14, the hair sample results were searched in the convicted offender’s database and matched Karyena Marye Alken, 29, of Sauk Rapids.

Alken was charged May 1 with 11 felony-level crimes including kidnapping, aggravated robbery and assault. 

According to the criminal complaint filed by the Kanabec County Attorney’s Office, in the early morning of May 11,  2017 two suspects wearing masks kicked in the front door, broke windows and threw a Vietnam War era tear gas canister into the home of the elderly woman. The woman woke up and exited the house. 

The suspects allegedly asked her to sit at a picnic table and used duct tape to bind her hands and feet. 

The suspects then went to the nearby shed on the property where her son lived. The son was sleeping. He reported he woke to his door being swung open and a man in a mask holding him at gunpoint. He was bound with tape and speaker wire. 

Meanwhile, the bound woman was able to slip her hands out of the tape and used a nearby wood saw to cut the tape on her feet. She then crawled out of sight and through heavy brush and swampland to reach a neighbor’s house. 

After the suspects left, the son was able to escape his bindings and ran to check on his mother. The doors of her house were left wide open and she was gone. He drove to a home nearby to call 911.

Neither the woman or her son were injured in the incident. 

Allegedly stolen items included a gun safe with 10 guns, $2,000 cash and ammunition. The tear gas caused extensive damage to the home as it soaked into the walls, furniture and other surfaces. Much of it had to be renovated. 

The second suspect is still at large.

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