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Charges: Madelia man raped woman on church grounds, kidnapped & terrorized her

(St. James, MN) – A Madelia man is behind bars after allegedly raping a woman, then kidnapping and threatening her with a weapon.

Michael Cowell, 38, faces a multitude of charges in connection with June 9th incident, including third-degree criminal sex conduct, first-degree burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree assault, and domestic assault.  All of the charges are felonies.

According to the complaint, the victim told police that Cowell had raped her on the grounds of a church.  The woman said Cowell was enraged and believed she’d been “f**king everybody.” After the rape, she told police, Cowell took her, nude, to the home of Nick Yarrito so Yarrito could have sex with her.  Yarrito later said he’d been sleeping and didn’t answer the door, according to the complaint.

Cowell allegedly then locked the woman in her own garage and refused to let her in her home. She was eventually able to get inside, where her adult son ordered Cowell to leave the residence, according to the complaint.  The victim’s son reportedly witnessed Cowell drop a meth pipe as he fled the property.

Later in the day, Cowell, the victim, Yarrito, and a fourth person, were at Yarrito’s home, according to the complaint.  Just before the group left for Mankato, Cowell allegedly trapped the victim in Yarrito’s garage by nailing the door shut and held a sword or bayonet to her throat.  Yarrito used a sledgehammer to smash the door open after Cowell refused to open it, according to the complaint.

Yarrito told police he’d seen a sword that Cowell was carrying when he left the property.

Cowell admitted that he’d refused to let the woman leave Yarrito’s garage, telling police he wanted to talk in private.  He denied having a sword or being at the victim’s home.

Police say Cowell has previous convictions for terroristic threats in Blue Earth County and domestic assault in Brown County.

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