A.L. police chief: woman ‘bludgeoned to death’

Published 11:55 am Monday, June 22, 2009

Local authorities confirmed Monday morning they are investigating the death of a 38-year-old woman in a trailer in Rainbow Terrace as a homicide, or wrongful death.

Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels said the woman, Jody Lee Morrow, 38, “appeared to be bludgeoned to death” when police officers found her Sunday. Information about the exact cause of death or potential weapon used has yet not been released.

Police arrested Morrow’s estranged boyfriend, Chad Jamie Gulbertson, 37, of Albert Lea, as a suspect.

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Winkels said Gulbertson and a family member came into the Law Enforcement Center on Sunday at about 11:30 a.m., reporting that Gulbertson thought he killed his girlfriend at a trailer at 730 Larimore Circle.

Officers responded to the trailer and found Morrow.

From that point on, the trailer was sealed, and local and state officials have been investigating at the scene, Winkels said. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was called in to assist.

Winkels said the case appears to be a situation of domestic violence, which is the No. 1 crime of occurrence in Freeborn County.

In the past, Albert Lea has averaged a homicide every seven years, but during the past 10 years, there has been one in 2001 and in 2005, he noted.

Winkels said an active restraining order was in place for Morrow against Gulbertson, and police have been called down to the trailer in the past.

Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said charges will be filed once his office has received reports of the incident and met with authorities.