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Suspect in Marshall store burglary returns to Nobles County court

WORTHINGTON — A Worthington woman arrested last Novemeber on charges of possession of an assault weapon, possession of stolen property and carrying a pistol without a permit ­— all in connection with the Borch’s Sporting Goods store in Marshall — was back in Nobles County District Court Thursday on separate charges.

Michele Lopez, 38, is facing one count of deprive of custody right violation by taking a minor, a felony offense. A warrant was issued for her arrest Monday after she allegedly took her 14-year-old daughter without legal authority and left Minnesota — possibly traveling to Mexico or El Salvador — in May.

The Nobles County Community Services Agency has protective custody of the 14-year-old daughter, as well as two of Lopez’s other children, pursuant to an order of the Nobles County Court in a Child in Need of Help or Protection (CHIPS) proceeding on Feb. 18. The children have been in foster care placement with their maternal great aunt.

The Worthington Police Department was contacted May 6 by the minor’s great aunt, who reported the 14-year-old as a runaway after the school had called to report she had not showed up for class. Police attempted to contact Lopez over the course of the next few days, but remained unable to reach her.

According to court documents, Worthington police received a May 12 call from the aunt, who said the minor and Lopez were allegedly in Las Vegas. She added that Lopez had allegedly said she would go to El Salvador if she took off.

On that same date, according to the criminal complaint, Worthington police spoke with a Nobles County Community Services Agency employee who had information on the whereabouts of Lopez. The employee told law enforcement she had worked with Lopez for the past three years, and had allegedly received a phone call from her stating that she had the 14-year-old daughter with her — and that they had crossed the border and had no intention of coming back.

The employee said Lopez didn’t specify which border, but added that she had always talked about going to El Salvador. The worker reminded Lopez of her other three children that she left, but Lopez had little to say.

Worthington police learned Monday that Lopez had been arrested July 11 in Minnehaha County, S.D., and was in custody there. A separate warrant was then issued for her arrest.

Lopez appeared in Nobles County District Court Thursday for a bail hearing, during which she stated that she “did not leave the country, and does not own a United States passport.”

Bail was set at $50,000 with conditions, and $100,000 without. Lopez is currently in custody at the Nobles County Jail. Her next court appearance is July 29.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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