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Following 'death party' for wife, Minnesota man charged with murder

Duane Arden Johnson

SEARLES, Minn. — A man who held a “death party” for his wife now is charged with murder after an autopsy showed his wife died of a methamphetamine overdose.

Duane Arden Johnson, 58, was charged with criminal neglect in the January death of his wife, Debra Lynn Johnson, 69. The Brown County Attorney's Office added a third-degree murder charge on Monday, March 11.

A Brown County Sheriff's Office investigator received Debra Johnson's autopsy results last month. The cause of death is listed as methamphetamine toxicity, according to the new charging document.

Duane Johnson called authorities to his home Jan. 24 and they found Debra Johnson dead and wrapped in a sheet. Duane Johnson told authorities his wife had been in a nursing home and she begged him to take her home to die.

Investigators learned from the New Ulm Medical Center that Debra Johnson had been at a transitional care center with multiple medical issues and her husband removed her against medical advice.

Duane Johnson said they had a “death party” and took methamphetamine, the charges said.

Searles is about 25 miles west of Mankato.

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