MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (WCCO) – A 24-year-old man is in custody after a woman was reportedly stabbed to death at a Pizza Ranch Restaurant in Montevideo, according to police.
Authorities were called to the scene at about 8:45 p.m. Friday on a report of a stabbing. When they arrived, they found a female laying on the floor and a man with a knife standing over the victim.
An officer at the scene drew her weapon and ordered the man to put down the knife. He complied with demands and the officer arrested him. The woman was taken to the Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, where she later died from multiple stab wounds.
Authorities have identified the woman as 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano of Montevideo.
Police have identified the suspect as Darek Nelson, of Montevideo. Nelson is currently in the Yellow Medicine County Jail awaiting criminal charges.
Police said both Nelson and Lozano were employees of the Pizza Ranch in Montevideo.
Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher said the incident appears to be premeditated. Nelson admitted to stabbing Lozano at least 30 times with a hunting knife outside of the restaurant in the parking lot. Nelson brought the hunting knife with him to work Friday, police said.
According to Christopher, Nelson was infatuated with the woman, who now leaves behind a small child. Christopher said the incident is being taken hard by the small community as many people in the town know both Nelson and Lozano.
Lozano worked two jobs – the other was at the Luther Haven nursing home, where she worked as a certified nursing assistant — to support her 18-month-old son, Carson. The employees at Pizza Ranch were like her family; she’d worked there since she was 14-years-old. Lozano’s Pizza Ranch co-workers held a prayer service for her Saturday night.
Robin Savoy, Lazno’s mother, can’t comprehend how she’ll face life without her only daughter.
“It was over that quick — minutes, in a blink of an eye…she was a baby to a young mom, to full-grown woman,” Savoy said. “She will never see her son grow up; he will never know his mother.”
Adam Paradee, Lozano’s uncle, said the brutality of the stabbing was like something one sees in the movies.
“What a monster is this guy to do this to someone so sweet and serene,” Paradee said. “It’s hard to explain unless you knew her personally how she was and what she brought into this world.”
Christopher said Nelson has no criminal past – not even a parking ticket.
Police say Nelson will likely face first-degree murder charges.