MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 21-year-old Starbuck man is accused of hiding the body of his friend, Laura Schwendemann, after she died from a possible drug overdose, according to charges filed in Douglas County.

Nickolas Ryan McArdell faces one gross misdemeanor count of interference with a dead body in connection to the Oct. 14, 2015 incident.

According to the criminal complaint, McArdell admitted to driving around Douglas County while injecting methamphetamine and smoking marijuana with Schwendemann, 18.

At one point, he said he messed with Schwendemann by pretending they were being chased by police as he drove. He said she then “freaked out” and he needed to calm her down couple times. The second time, however, she began to breathe heavily before she stopped breathing, the complaint said.

He told police that he checked her pulse and she didn’t have one, so he drove three or four miles to a cornfield. That’s where he left the body, the complaint said.

The next morning, he called several people asking them if they had seen Schwendemann.

Authorities say McArdell initially told police that Schwendemann and he had been injecting meth and driving around Douglas County, but that he blacked out and couldn’t remember what happened.

On Oct. 18, a multi-agency search by land and air ensued. Schwendemann’s body was discovered on Oct. 26.

An autopsy of Schwendemann did not reveal evidence of any other cause of her death aside from methamphetamine ingestion.

On Oct. 31, McArdell admitted to hiding her body, the complaint said.

If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.

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