Remains discovered

Dressed in winter clothing, Barron County Sheriff’s deputies investigate a site in the town of Maple Grove where skeletal remains were discovered in December 2017. More than two and one-half years later, forensic scientists have identified bones as belonging to a Minnesota man, believed to be the victim of a homicide. Photo from News-Shield archives

Two arrests have been made in connection with the death of a Minnesota man whose remains were found in Barron County in 2017.

Scott County (Minnesota) Sheriff Luke Hennen announced Thursday, Nov. 19, that two arrests were made regarding the death of 63-year-old Gary Albert Herbst of Elko New Market, Minnesota, a small town south of the Twin Cities. 

Mr. Herbst was reported as a missing person to the Elko New Market Police Department in 2014. His remains were later found in Maple Grove Township south of Barron in late 2017. His remains were finally identified in June of 2020 with the help of the DNA Doe project.

At approximately 7 a.m. Thursday, Scott County Sheriff Detectives arrested Connie Lou Herbst, 62, of New Prague, Minnesota, and Austin James Herbst, 26, of Elko New Market, Minnesota, without incident.

Both were booked into Scott County Jail on suspicion of 2nd degree murder.

The bones were discovered Dec. 3, 2017, after a family dog apparently found them and brought part of a human skull into a driveway in the 1300 block of Tenth Avenue, south of Barron.

The homeowner called police after discovering the skull. The rest of the remains were found in a small wooded area about 100 yards to the east.

“These arrests in this cold case were the result of tremendous multi-agency teamwork, spanning across state lines,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Barron County Sheriff’s Office, State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Division and Criminal Investigation, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, New Prague Police Department, and the Elko New Market Police Department.

See more details in the the Nov. 25 issue of the News-Shield.