Legislation has been introduced to strengthen state penalties for anyone found guilty of crimes similar to those involving 19-year-old victim Laura Schwendemann of Starbuck, whose body was found 12 days after she was reported missing last fall.
The legislation, known as “Laura’s Law,” is being carried in the House by Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, and in the Senate by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria.
Currently, the crime of interfering with the body or scene of a death with intent to conceal the body or evidence, or otherwise to mislead the coroner or medical examiner, is a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota. The maximum penalty for such a crime is 365 days in jail and a fine. If this new legislation becomes law, the crime would become a felony with the maximum penalty increased to not more than 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.