Becker County woman kidnapped, forced to dig grave, court documents say

A Frazee, Minnesota, woman was charged with kidnapping, terrorizing and assault. Her boyfriend and another woman also face terrorizing charges in connection to the incident.

Alicia Alaniz
Alicia Alaniz
Otter Tail County Jail

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A woman is claiming she was kidnapped and forced to dig her own grave late Friday night, March 4, before she escaped to get the help of an Otter Tail County deputy, court documents said.

Alicia Lizzett Alaniz, 31, of Frazee; Mariah Lynn Bunker, 21, of Detroit Lakes; and Joshua Irvin Adams, 39, of Prior Lake, were scheduled to appear Tuesday, March 8, in Otter Tail County District Court in connection to the incident. Alaniz faces charges of kidnapping, terroristic threats and fifth-degree assault, while Adams and Bunker were charged with making terroristic threats.

According to a criminal complaint:

A woman, who was identified only by her initials, asked Alaniz to give her a ride to her home in Detroit Lakes from Fargo. The woman was released Friday from Cass County Jail.

Alaniz took the woman to the latter’s Detroit Lakes apartment, but the locks had been changed by her landlord. The woman broke a window to gain entrance.


Joshua Adams, left, and Mariah Bunker

Bunker was present at the apartment when the window was broken. Alaniz returned to the apartment and yelled at the woman she previously picked up to get in the car, which she did.

It's unclear if Bunker or Alaniz also lived at the apartment. The Detroit Lakes Police Department responded to the broken window call around 9 a.m. Friday in the 1300 block of Madison Avenue, Police Chief Steven Todd.

That case remains under investigation, so few details could be released about the incident, Todd said.

When Alaniz arrived at a Holiday Gas Station in Detroit Lakes, the woman ran from the vehicle, with Alaniz allegedly chasing her. Adams drove the vehicle toward the two women.

Alaniz then told the other woman to drive out to a rural area in Otter Tail County, gave her a shovel and told her to “dig her own grave,” the complaint said. The woman told investigators she begged Adams and Bunker for help, but they did not assist her. Alaniz allegedly punched the woman in the face, according to court documents.

At one point, Alaniz made the woman remove her shirt, the complaint alleged. Alaniz squeezed the woman’s blood along with her own into a jar, the woman told officers. The woman noted Alaniz was chanting in Spanish, according to the complaint.

Alaniz, Adams and Bunker left the woman at the scene, court documents said. The woman then ran for what she said was 5 miles to a deputy’s house, wearing a coat, no shirt and one boot, according to the complaint. Dispatchers were informed about the incident around 11:07 p.m. Friday, but it's unclear when in the day the alleged kidnapping happened.

The woman led law enforcement to the site where she said she was forced to dig a grave. A deputy found a rectangular hole dug in the snow, a water bottle, cigarette butt and a secondary location with another shoveled out area that contained a jar covered with white tape, court documents said.


Alaniz and Adams were found in Adams' vehicle around 1:04 a.m. Saturday near Wadena, Minnesota. The woman's shirt was found in Adams' vehicle, according to deputies.

Adams and Alaniz were booked Saturday into the Otter Tail County Jail, according to jail logs. Bunker was arrested Sunday, the jail log said. All three remained in custody as of noon Monday.

A motive in the case wasn't immediately clear. Adams, Bunker and the woman know Alaniz.

Alaniz denied the allegations that she forced the woman to dig her own grave. She claimed the woman was suicidal and tried to run into traffic at the gas station, court documents said.

Bunker and Adams initially denied their involvement but later acknowledged there was an incident in a rural area, court documents said.

The voicemail box for Bunker's attorney, Brian Geis, was full and couldn't accept messages. Schan Sorkness, who is listed as Alaniz's attorney, said he wasn't aware that he was appointed her defender when contacted by The Forum.

An attorney was not listed for Adams as of noon Tuesday.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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