BRAINERD, Minn. – Searchers found a body they believe is that of a 21-year-old Minnesota woman who disappeared a year and a half ago, a private investigator said Sunday.
Erika Dalquist (search) was last seen leaving a Brainerd (search) bar with a man on Oct. 30, 2002. Police called a news conference Sunday to announce what they called "a significant development" in the Dalquist case.
Police Chief John Bolduc declined to give details, but Bob Heales, a private investigator involved in the search, said the body was found Saturday wearing the same clothing that Dalquist had on when she was last seen.
"We found what we do believe is Erika," Heales said.
Dalquist's mother, Colleen Dalquist, said police had asked her not to comment before the news conference.
Prosecutors charged a 24-year-old man with second-degree manslaughter in Dalquist's disappearance in January 2003, but dropped the charge two weeks later due to insufficient evidence.
Heales said the body was found near where the suspect grew up, about seven miles east of Brainerd.
The body was found by a neighbor who was looking for a bloodhound that had bolted away during the search Saturday evening, Heales said. He said the bloodhound wasn't found until early Sunday, next to the spot where the body was found.
Heales, who helped lead the search for slain University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin (search), said he and Sjodin's father, Allan, were among the searchers out Saturday evening.
The recent discovery of Sjodin's body renewed hopes of finding Dalquist, who worked at a telemarketing company and dreamed of one day going into the military.
Heales helped organize a volunteer search for Dalquist the previous weekend, and a search Saturday that drew about 100 volunteers.