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Human remains found at Minnesota farmstead; 2 persons of interest detained

Three police vehicles are seen Thursday afternoon, June 21, 2018, as authorities investigate a situation south of Hitterdal, Minn. Erin Bormett / The Forum1 / 2
Click to view full graphic.2 / 2

HITTERDAL, Minn. – Authorities have released the name of a missing Wahpeton man whose disappearance appears linked to the discovery of human remains at a Clay County farmstead and the detention of two people as persons of interest in the case.

On June 9, police received a report from the family of Troy Edmund Yarbrough, 41, that he hadn’t been seen or heard from since May 18, a Wahpeton Police Department news release said.

An initial investigation found that Yarbrough likely left his home voluntarily, which would have ended police involvement. However, certain factors prompted Wahpeton police to continue trying to find Yarbrough, police said.

They asked for help from the Dilworth, Hawley and Ada police departments, the Norman and Clay County sheriff’s offices and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

As a result, a search took place June 20 and 21 at a farmstead near Minnesota Highway 32 south of Hitterdal, a town about 30 miles northeast of Moorhead.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Friday, June 22, that Yarbrough was last seen in the company of Jason Jensen, 39, and Kayla Westcott, 34, and that investigators had detained Jensen and Westcott as persons of interest.

The sheriff’s office said a search of the farmstead conducted with the help of the BCA and its crime lab team led to the discovery of what appeared to be human remains. The remains were sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul for identification.

Court records list the farmstead as Jensen’s home address.

During the search of the farmstead, officers used a drone and could also be seen digging on the property.

Westcott was being held Friday evening at the Clay County Jail on Norman County warrants for drunken driving and domestic assault. Also, in the charges category, the jail roster listed “sudden death/body found” under her name.

Jensen was not in custody, according to jail staff. However, the roster anonymously listed one inmate as “John Doe.” Under that name, the roster said “search warrant” in the charges category.

In May, Jensen pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of fifth-degree assault, according to Minnesota court records.

In 2017, he entered a guilty plea and was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault. He was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, court records show.

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