MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (WCCO) — Prosecutors have charged a 24-year-old man accused with killing a co-worker with whom he was infatuated.

Eighteen-year-old Vinessa Lozano died last Friday after being stabbed outside of the Pizza Ranch in Montevideo. Friends say she worked there, and also at a nursing home to support her 1-year-old son.

Police say Lozano was murdered just before 9 p.m. Friday by Darek Nelson, who worked at the Pizza Ranch with her. Nelson admitted to police that he brought his hunting knife to work that day with the intention of killing Lozano.

Police say Nelson stabbed her at least 30 times outside the restaurant in the parking lot. When police arrived to the scene, he was standing over her body with his knife in hand. When given a command to drop his weapon, he complied and was arrested.

The criminal complaint says that Lozano told a witness that Nelson had stabbed her before she began to lose consciousness.

Police later said Nelson was infatuated with Lozano but she had turned down his advances towards her.

According to the criminal complaint, Nelson admitted to police officers that he killed her. He described himself as a “loner” who spent most of his time watching anime and collecting Japanese memorabilia, including swords.

Nelson told police Lozano was the “second dearest person to me,” but also said their interactions were one-sided. He said she had shunned him recently and he made the decision to kill her with his hunting knife if she “treated him badly” again.

The criminal complaint says Nelson admitted to stabbing Lozano in the back when they were leaving work. He then continued stabbing her repeatedly, even after a co-worker and police arrived at the scene.

Police told Nelson that she’d died of her injuries and Nelson replied, “I figured she probably would because I was pretty brutal.”

Nelson has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault.

Lozano’s family was at Tuesday’s court hearing and said they don’t believe his bail, set at $750,000, is high enough for the second-degree murder charges he is facing.

“Just knowing that he’s behind bars now makes me feel somewhat safe. I would love it if it (Nelson’s bail) would’ve been millions of dollars to make damn sure he’s not getting out,” said Lazano’s mother, Robin Savoy. “I’m just taking it day-to-day and hoping justice prevails.”

The incident has stunned the town of Montevideo, which has just more than 5,000 people. Bonnie Terning, the owner of the Pizza Ranch Restaurant, said she is still in shock by the events that took place.

“Darek is quiet, a very, very shy, very, very good employee. He is always very helpful to anyone and everybody,” Terning said.

Terning said it was an awful sequence of events and something that nobody in the community saw coming.

“We went through that over and over in our heard. Even Friday he didn’t nothing different, everything exactly the way he always does it,” Terning said.

WCCO-TV went to Nelson’s home in rural Montevideo seeking comment. A woman who answered the door would not identify herself and had no comment.

On Friday night, many people in town plan to turn a light on their porch on for Lozano. Her funeral is planned for Saturday at the Community Bible church in Montevideo.

A memorial fund has been set up for Lozano. Donations will be used to help Lozano’s family pay for her funeral expenses. To donate to the fund, send money to the Montevideo Coop Credit Union, P.O. Box 447, Montevideo, MN 56265.

Comments (70)
  1. j speedbag 64 says:

    death penalty for this type of crime……he should of waved his hunting knife at the cops so they could of blasted him right between the eyes……………..poor gal

    1. jcat mn says:

      Another article by care 11 stated this….Prosecutors say squad car video from the vehicle of the first arriving officer shows Nelson standing above the body of the victim with a knife in his hand. They say the tape then shows the defendant crouching down and stabbing Lozano one more time before the officer orders him to drop the knife.

      I’d say this and eye witness’s should be plenty of proof.

  2. Susan Wimmergren says:

    He not only killed her but her unborn child also…would not that be a double murder?

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Huh? What article were you reading?

    2. red says:

      There is no unborn child in this story- She had an 1 year old. This is one ugly dude.

    3. Realist says:

      What the hell are you talking about?

    4. Got it. says:

      Yea, I must have missed that part. You must have got that information from the psychic hotline.

  3. Dustin says:

    Where did it say she was pregnant ?

    1. homer says:

      Nowhere. The anti abortion crowd is so programmed to scan if a woman who gets killed might have been pregnant that they read it into anything. She DOES have an orphan one year old, to who’s support I will be contributing.

      As for him, shave his cheesy little mustache and put him in Stillwater. He’ll get his hellish education in due time.

      1. homer says:

        I’m against capital punishment, mainly because of all the people on death row who have been proven innocent. No reset button. Yes, this guy is guilty, but executing him is not justice, it’s revenge. Might taste sweet, but makes us less as a people.

        I don’t wish him death in prison, just that he’s shown that he’s a really little man.

        1. Good Guy says:

          Her family might disagree with you. In this case, I don’t think any dna evidence is going to clear the guy. He doesn’t deserve to live. Call it whatever you want. You call it revenge. I call it justice.

          1. Jackie Du Charme says:

            I call it justice too. Why should we have to pay for this moron until he dies in prison? Maybe some of you would like to support him but I sure don’t want too.

          2. Concerned Minnesotan says:

            Her mother just lost her only daughter. The worst loss an individual could EVER suffer. Proven by psychologists and sociologists. But quite frankly as much as I hate assumptions, I’m figuring despite the immense loss her family, namely her mother, isn’t going to support capital punishment for this young man. I’m sure she craves justice, which no matter on any lines should be served, but killing someone won’t bring her daughter back, and won’t lessen the pain. There are MANY things that all taxpayers pay that go to help many people in all types of situations, not just criminals or poverty-stricken people, or whathaveyou. Even the middle-class and wealthy benefit from our tax money. what goes around comes around. someday we all could use a helping hand, and that’s when tax payers are going to be there for each other. Natural disasters is an example. It’s not my fault someone on the other side of the country lost their home in a hurricane..yet that’s not going to stop me from believing the money I pay should go to help them in time of need. I think there are too many people in prison but it’s a sign we need more education and help to prevent issues that we can. Prisons can do good for people willing to learn from their mistakes and if they are given the proper help to rebuild theirself and recieve substantial psychological care, etc. This was a HORRIBLE thing to happen anywhere, I’m obviosuly in no way in support of crime especially to this brutal extent, but it’s not any of our place to judge this man or anyone for that matter. we don’t deserve to sit up on a pedastal and shun others and talk down to anyone. we’re all in the wrong at some point. have a little courtesy. be the ‘good guy’ you claim you are. and I’m not calling you out alone, I’m talking to everyone who’s being so heartless on here because it’s the FAMILY and FRIENDS of both these young adults who are reading this and it’s not fair for them to have to feel publically humiliated by an equally wrong-doing person. we all have our issues, let’s care about others yet learn when it’s time to mind our own business.

            1. jackactionhero says:

              Do not claim to know what anybody else thinks. Despicable.

              1. desert eagle .50 says:

                I claim to know that everyone thinks you are retromingent. I am being specific.

        2. Nate says:

          I believe that if there was cruel and unusual punishment for cruel and unusual crimes there would be less cruel and unusual crimes to wrongfully accuse someone of in the first place.

          1. homer says:

            Nice theory, but do you actually believe that someone who is about to take a life will be stopped by the threat of the death penalty? Not a chance.

            1. homer says:

              Effective? As in cost effective? Should we shoot them in the head and bill the family for the bullet ala China? Crime prevention effective? Sure.

              And we keep our souls

            2. Nate says:

              @ homer,

              Maybe not in this particular case because the guy appears to be a flat out psycho, but in many other instances of premeditated murder where one wishes death on another for a particular reason, plans it out thoroughly, and actually contemplates his chances of getting away and rather or not the consequences are worth it… I’m pretty sure he may second guess if the consequences outweigh his desire for the others demise. Don’t you think?

              1. jackactionhero says:

                Why does it matter? End the life of the perpetrator and you get to stop wondering either way.

        3. Wake Up says:

          This is why we need capital punishment – why should this man get to live when he didn’t give his victim that same choice – this child will never again get to see it’s mother. I’m sorry but I agree and I’m hoping someone in the joint will take care of this slime ball.

      2. kram says:

        her son isnt orphaned either he still has his fsther, orphan implies neither parent is alive

  4. Michelle says:

    That poor girl…it’s scary to think how many nut-jobs are running around in this world. I hope he’s put away for the rest of his life, because he obviously doesn’t belong in society.

  5. Realist says:

    Classy response.

  6. Chuck says:

    In my mind, he should have pointed the knife at the cop so we would not have to pay to keep this guy behind bars for the rest of his life at what? $40000 per year.

  7. PFred says:

    I feel awful for her family and for what the poor girl went through while this sick SOB stabbed her over and over again. Definitely a crime of passion. HE will get his own in prison, but not soon enough in my eyes!! I think in cases like this, the family of the victim should be allowed first swing at him. Then only after that, let him rot in prison for the rest of his pathetic life. Now this girl’s poor child will have to grow up without his mother.

  8. Ddarko says:

    2ND degree murder? Shouldn’t it be 1st degree murder if it’s pre-meditated i.e. bringing a knife to work, planning on killing this girl as the article says??

    1. ez says:

      I agree, however, the County Attorney can’t just file 1st degree murder charges against him. It needs to go to a grand jury which I hope they are doing right now. In MN a suspect must be charged within 36 hours or be released. Right now they charged him with the highest possible charge so that he would not be released.

      1. Marie says:

        I wondered about that too. That’s for the answer.

      2. Beck says:

        I posted my question before I read your answer. Thanks for clearing that up.

    2. Beck says:

      I’m thinking the same thing. I understand a lesser charge where there might be diffculty finding and/or providing proof, but this was confessed to (before or after miranda…?) and planned ahead of time. Our laws are so difficult to understand, but this seems pretty much cut and dried.

  9. rick perry says:

    To Ddarko-1st degree murder charges can only be brought by a grand jury.As of now he still COULD be charged with 1st degree murder-along with these charges. I also think we do need the death penalty,especially in cases like this!

    1. Realist says:

      So you want to take civilization back a few hundred years?

      1. homer says:

        And hope you are never framed by a corrupt police department and an ADA trying to make his bones in starting his political career?

        Good luck with that.

        Lock them up and throw away the key.

        1. homer says:

          NO, I DON’T, and PLEASE don’t make stupid extrapolations.

          This guy should be locked up forever.

          You only need look at Texas for a golden combo of corrupt district attorneys and cops plus death penalty to see one possible outcome of instituting one in MN.

          1. jackactionhero says:

            So, even if he’s caught red-handed, you still aren’t quite sure enough, eh, homer? LOL

            And that could be because of Texas or corrupt DAs or cops, eh?

            Laughable. Simply absurd.

            1. homer says:

              Even if they are caught red handed, we should not kill them.

              What is laughable is your anonymous assertion of blood-lust in this forum. Public executions? Grow up and develop a moral center.

              Think, dude, think.

            2. jackactionhero says:

              My moral center focuses on protection of the innocent, not protection of the most despicable of our world.

              I don’t care if he’s executed for blood lust, raffle tickets for a new boat, or just to watch him die and know he can’t kill anybody else. I really don’t. I don’t find that immoral or unethical in the least. And it’s far from anonymous. I would have no problem with volunteering to tie the knot, pull the trigger, drop the match or swing the axe myself, and I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. I think the line would be long.

              1. desert eagle .50 says:

                Now just how long do you “think” the line would be? Please be specific.

                1. jackactionhero says:

                  2,644 people long

  10. Ellen says:

    So is this perp from Montevideo originally? Who are his parents?

  11. me says:

    We need to pass a law banning all knifes. There is too many stabbing deaths in this world……

    1. Pfred says:

      How do you propose you ban knives? Highly unlikely this will ever happen. People use them for many other things other than killing each other.

      1. jackactionhero says:


        Look it up. It’s embarrassing to even read responses like this. I mean really…

    2. ez says:

      When ever I see a post by someone wanting to ban guns or knives I always post this.

      “We need to ban people, that way no one will be murdered.”

    3. Jackie Du Charme says:

      You have got to be kidding. Ban all knifes? LOL Not.

  12. Kevin says:

    2nd Degree Murder? Really? He just happened to be at the parking lot… the exact time she got off….and just happened to be carrying a knife…..and just happened to confront her and stab her 30 times? This is not 1st Degree Murder????

  13. Concerned Minnesotan says:

    Come on people, please settle down. We all are entitled to our own feelings and opinions but what’s more important is respect for both grieving families. Both families are suffering from a tragic impact of reality and pain. Neither Vinnessa or Darek are going to be reading this, but the families and friends of both could. They are struggling and don’t need to hear criticism of either of their loved ones. It was a tragic crime that in no way was okay and deserves consequences but the family and community need a sense of compassion from others. They are grieiving..they are experiencing anger, sadness, pain, hurt, confusion, you name it…BOTH families.Just leave it to the court system, none of us are trained in this area adn if you are, you’re not hired to make it your business. If you want to complain about the justice system, blame yourself because we voted theses people in. All we can do at the point is give the family space and time, and offer support. If your religion recognized prayer, pray for both families and the assailant. I consider myself agnostic but I understand the theology behind religions and in many who believe in the one true God, forgiveness is preached and should be practice. If God is the one true judge, his sins are equal to yours and will be seen the same on the day of your earthly departure. Most people would not think of doing such a crime but it happens all over, and with peach and awareness practiced this sort of tragedy could be reduced but right now everyone here is feeding into it. WIshing pain inflicted on someone isn’t going to make it better or bring this young lady back or make her poor mother or son feel anyless pain. The famiily of the assialant arleady feels guilt, shock, and pain as well so there is no point to embarassing them more. This was someone’s son. They are losing a loved one as well and have enough to deal with as is as well. I hope we all can open our eyes to the world around us and sense the struggles others go through and be there to just hope for the best. I hope you all take care and find better ways to deal with the issue at hand.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      I offer my unadulterated criticism of this worthless mongrel and I do so without shame.

      If only the sentence could be a boot against the throat until he stops twitching. I have a size 12 I volunteer to the effort.

    2. jackactionhero says:

      “WIshing pain inflicted on someone isn’t going to make it better or bring this young lady back or make her poor mother or son feel anyless pain.”

      Why don’t we just let him go then? Is that what you want?

      1. Albert says:

        Ok, Jack-hole. You are officially a waste of skin and time.

        1. jackactionhero says:

          Your opinion means nothing to me, and yet you are the one insulting me. LOL. One has to wonder what you hope to accomplish by attempting the impossible.

    3. imconcernedforyou says:

      ….you got more things to be concerned about!

  14. Shari Olson says:

    The charges are from District court. It will be tried in higher court w/appropriate charges.

  15. Billy says:

    This punk will get his when he go’s to prison, I guarantee it.

    The death penalty is a fast and easy death.

    He’s gonna suffer, honest, he will.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Meaning what, Billy? Please be specific.

    2. jackactionhero says:

      By the way, “go’s” is not a word in the English language. There is no situation in which it is.

  16. Betty LaRue says:

    I’m just wondering….is it possible this young man has fetal alcohol syndrome or some deep seated psychiatric issue which has gone untreated ? These problems would not be an excuse of course, but I am trying to make some sort of sense of how this could happen.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Either affliction is easily remedied with a low cost, lethal solution. Why do we care what he has or doesn’t have? It’s not relevant. What’s relevant is he was mad that this poor girl wasn’t attracted to him, so he killed her. Nothing else matters. No offense, Betty…

  17. Next Step says:

    Seven day waiting period and background check before buying a knife is in order

  18. Bill Hines says:

    Isn’t this premeditated murder? 1st degree with life in prison? I feel bad for both families right now. I am sure his parents must be hurting also.

  19. Al frankin says:

    There needs to be a bill brought forward to ban hunting knives.

    1. Gov Dayton says:

      NO! First I ban all PIzza Resturants!

  20. Lynne says:

    I understand the passion and the call for justice behind every one of the comments made. This stuff sets everybody off and rightly so! This was a beautiful woman that just went to work one day and probably many times tried nicely to tell this creep..No thanks..not interested. It’s so sad..but, there must have been some red flags before it came to this. Heads up people..if they seem creepy…they probably are. So sad…RIP Vinessa and to the family of the creeper..I’m sorry too. Creeper…well, you can rot in hell!!

  21. chad says:

    i remember this night…. i wont forget seeing the crowd of people and i wont forget the police rushing to the crime scene this is terrible ordeal. i feel bad for her one year old son that has to grow up with out no mom. he barely even got a chance to know her and all this 1 year old has left is pictures and stories of how truly great of a person she was……

  22. Minnesotan says:

    My sympathy goes out to the family of Vinessa but absolutely no sympathy to Dareks family.. he’s still alive so of course they still have a reason to be happy……………i hope things change and he gets the death sentence instead.

  23. Some who cares says:

    Thank you Concerned Minnesotan for your kindness and understanding of this situation. I am sorry for both families loss. I am a family friend of the Nelson’s.They are very caring and kind hearted people. They too are suffering a great loss. Please show some compassion and empathy .No one could have predicted these chain of events.This could happen to any one of us. Don’t cast judgement. God Bless

  24. Kevin says:

    Funny he really does not look white……….

  25. Jay says:

    It totally boggles my mind why the police didnt shoot this guy on the spot! I wonder, if the police had seen a murderer stabbing one of their own would they have just watched as their “brother” got stabbed one more time?

    1. Beck says:

      Now there’s a valid point! If the stories are true, how can an officer hesitate? Without standing in his shoes, I have no place to judge…I like to think however, that if I (or almost any “normal” person I know) had been standing there with a loaded weapon the assault would have ended right then, be damned to the consequences. I do find it hard to believe though, that if the guy had been stabbing a cop he’d still be alive…

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