Reward offered in disappearance of Cottage Grove native Danielle JelinekA reward is being offered to help find Danielle Jelinek more than a month after the Cottage Grove native disappeared.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A reward is being offered to help find Danielle Jelinek more than a month after the Cottage Grove native disappeared.
Authorities say Jelinek was last seen early Dec. 9 at the home of a male acquaintance in rural Chisago Lakes Township. She then disappeared, but her car, cellphone and other personal possessions were left at the man’s home.
The Chisago County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced it was partnering with Crime Stoppers and offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Jelinek’s disappearance.
Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan said it took time to develop the reward, but he also acknowledged that tips are starting to dry up.
“We feel that there’s somebody out there that does know more information and maybe they’re thinking, I just don’t want to get involved,” Duncan said Friday, adding a cash reward might change their mind.
Jelinek, 27, is a Park High School graduate who was living with her sister, Cory, in Oakdale at the time of her disappearance.
Jelinek was last seen Dec. 8 with Aaron Schnagl, described as a former boyfriend of hers. After relatives reported Jelinek missing, authorities questioned Schnagl and searched his home. Duncan said Schnagl told investigators he was with Jelinek drinking in Minneapolis the night of Dec. 8 and they returned to his home in Chisago Lakes Township, north of Washington County. He said he passed out early in the morning and when he awoke later, Jelinek was gone.
Authorities and more than 100 volunteers – many relatives and friends of Jelinek – searched ditches, wooded areas and open fields around Schnagl’s home in the days after her disappearance. The volunteer searches turned up no trace of Jelinek.
Authorities early this month conducted a dive search of a lake near Schnagl’s home, but found nothing. They also have drilled holes through ice on other area lakes and used remote cameras to search underwater. Those searches, too, have been unsuccessful.
Schnagl was arrested on drug charges the day after Jelinek was reported missing. Authorities allegedly recovered pounds of marijuana as well as cocaine and ecstasy during a search of his home.
Duncan called Schnagl a “person of interest” in Jelinek’s disappearance, but Schnagl has denied any involvement and there has been no confirmed evidence of foul play. He is being held in jail on the unrelated drug charges.
Anyone with information about Jelinek’s whereabouts is asked to call a 24-hour dispatch line at 651-257-4100.
Relatives created a Facebook page called Danielle Mary Jelinek Search Team shortly after her disappearance. It’s been visited by thousands of people, many offering condolences to her family.