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Cloquet man arrested for murder after mother, child found dead

Sheldon James Thompson was arrested Sunday after an extensive search.

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An investigator Sunday leaves the Cloquet house where the bodies of a mother and an 18-month-old child were found Saturday. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

A 33-year-old Cloquet man was arrested Sunday night after a mother and child were found dead Saturday afternoon.

Sheldon James Thompson was taken into custody after an extensive search in the wake of the homicide of a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old boy. He was booked around 8:45 p.m. Sunday on two counts of second-degree murder with intent, according to the Carlton County jail roster.

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Shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday a concerned citizen notified law enforcement regarding fears over the well-being of a woman and child. According to a news release, officers checked the home, located at 1620 Locke Lane in Cloquet on the Fond du Lac Reservation, but were unable to contact or see anyone inside. A search warrant was conducted, and while searching the home, officers found the bodies of the woman and child inside the house.

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The names of the victims are being withheld pending identification and notification of next of kin. It is believed the victims and suspect had a relationship or otherwise knew each other, the news release said.

Authorities arrested Thompson at 8:43 p.m. Sunday after a search involving both a helicopter and a police dog. He was found in the woods near Mission Creek Road in Perch Lake Township on the Fond du Lac Reservation, authorities said Sunday night. He was treated and cleared from a local hospital for "temperature-related issues," then booked into the Carlton County Jail pending two counts of second-degree homicide.

No weapons were found on Thompson at the time of his arrest, police said.

Thompson has previous convictions of multiple misdemeanors and felonies for assaults and domestic assaults from 2009 to 2017 and is currently on unsupervised probation through July 12 after violating a domestic abuse no-contact order in 2017, according to court documents.

Autopsies will be performed Monday by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey, Minnesota. The motive is under investigation. There are numerous witnesses and the interviews may take some time, according to police.

Police request that anyone with additional information call 911 or send an anonymous message by texting TIP CLOQUETPD, followed by the message, to 888777.

Fond du Lac Band community centers in Brookston, Sawyer and Cloquet closed for the day Sunday "due to the tragic event that happened," according to Facebook posts all on of the centers' pages. "Our deepest condolences go out to the family," the posts said.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa cooperated with the investigation, according to a news release.

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“We live in a very close-knit community in which trauma to any one individual or group deeply affects our collective well-being,” Kevin Dupuis, tribal chairman, said in the statement. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our people and our neighboring communities, with which FDL has strong ties.”

Gitchigumi Scouts, a group that aids in the search for missing and murdered indigenous women, issued a statement on Facebook asking people to set out tobacco and "say a prayer for an area greatly affected by this most recent trauma." The post encouraged those in need of services to reach out.

Cloquet police were assisted by the Fond du Lac Police Department, Carlton County Sheriff's Office, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Investigators and Crime Scene Unit, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Carlton County Attorney's Office.

News Tribune online editor Barrett Chase and reporter Kelly Busche contributed to this story.

This story was most recently updated at 8:46 a.m. March 9, 2020, with additional information. It was originally posted at 11:27 a.m. March 8, 2020.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSCLOQUET
Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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