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Brainerd man faces murder charges in woman’s death

According to the criminal complaint, a man requested a welfare check at the residence for his ex-wife after Michael Munger messaged him that his ex-wife was “gone.”

Police activity
A member of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension walks back to her van Thursday, April 28, 2022, while investigating an incident on the Smith Road north of Brainerd in Unorganized Territory.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — A 53-year-old Brainerd man faces murder charges in connection with the death of 43-year-old Lynnie Ann Loucks Thursday morning at the home they lived in north of Brainerd.

Mugshot
Michael Lowell Munger
Crow Wing County Jail / Contributed

Michael Lowell Munger was arraigned Friday, April 29, in Crow Wing County District Court on charges of second-degree murder with intent but without premeditation and second-degree murder without intent but while committing a felony.

Munger was arrested Thursday morning after the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office responded to a request for a welfare check at a house off Smith Road, near Legionville Road, in Unorganized Territory.

According to the criminal complaint, a man requested a welfare check at the residence for his ex-wife, Loucks, after Munger messaged him that his ex-wife was “gone.”

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Munger in the driveway of the residence with blood on his body and clothing. He told deputies something to the effect of, “You’re too late, she’s gone,” according to the criminal complaint.

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Loucks was located inside a basement bedroom in the house lying on the ground in a pool of blood with a belt around her neck.

In a statement to law enforcement after he was arrested, Munger said he and Loucks, with whom he had been in a relationship for the past year, got into an argument about infidelity early Thursday morning. Munger told law enforcement officers he “did what he did” and used a belt to strangle Loucks and a baseball bat to strike her.

During his court appearance Friday, Munger was appointed a public defender. He is being held in the Crow Wing County Jail on a $3 million unconditional bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for May 12.

On Thursday morning, yellow police tape sectioned off the property of the split-level home on Smith Road with several vehicles parked outside the residence, but no activity was visible inside the home.

Two Crow Wing County squad cars sat at the driveway entrance. Additional squad cars began arriving on scene about 10 a.m.

About 300 yards of Smith Road was closed to through traffic at Legionville Road until the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension finished up the investigation. The road reopened Friday morning, though a police vehicle remained in the driveway.

A BCA Crime Scene Team vehicle arrived at the home about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Munger’s criminal history

Munger’s criminal history includes several instances of domestic abuse in both Minnesota and Washington. According to court records:

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  • On June 14, 2011, Munger pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor domestic violence offense in the state of Washington.
  • On July 9, 2015, Breezy Point police officers responded to a domestic dispute involving Munger and a woman. Afterward, the victim filed a harassment restraining order against Munger. On July 15, 2015, Munger called her work and said, "I don't care about your restraining order. I'm going to kill you." He then repeated, "I'm going to kill you" and hung up the phone.The call came from a cellphone listed to the defendant's sister who lives in Bellevue, Washington.
    In the criminal complaint filed against Munger, it stated “a suspicious male was observed in the area of the defendant's residence but ran away when he was seen by … (a) child. After the male ran away, it was discovered that a can full of gasoline had been left at (her) residence. It is believed that the person who left the gas can is the defendant.”
    On Dec. 10, 2015, Munger was convicted of felony terroristic threats with reckless disregard for the risk of causing terror in another person. He served a year in the St. Cloud prison for the crime.
  • On Oct. 3, 2015, the Breezy Point and Pequot Lakes police departments were looking for Munger in regards to a possible order for protection violation.
    After attempting to evade officers, Munger denied violating the order for protection but said the protected party should know better than to "poke a bear” and the protected party was "going to bring this on herself."
    During questioning, Munger seemed angered by the officer’s questions, according to the criminal complaint, and said he was going to have to "look you up," referring to the officer. He also asked the officer if he had a wife and kids and said, "We should meet sometime when you're off duty."
    A charge for gross misdemeanor stalking arising from this incident was later dropped.
  • On May 1, 2016, the Crosslake Police Department received a report of a possible order for protection violation in Crosslake. According to the criminal complaint, a protected party received a friend request on Facebook from Munger.
    On Sept. 25, 2016, Munger was convicted of felony violating an order of protection.
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