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Texas cold case heats up locally

A Dakota County resident of nearly two decades has been arrested in connection to a 1983 murder that happened in Texas.

Robert Archie Otteson, 53, was taken into custody Aug. 12 by officers from the Lakeville Police Department, Texas Rangers and Denton County, Texas deputies. He was arrested for allegedly stabbing a man.

According to Dakota County property records, Otteson moved to the area in 1997. His home is in the city of Lakeville, but has a Farmington address, and is within the boundaries of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District.

A criminal complaint issued by Dakota County indicates Otteson had a warrant for his arrest from Denton County, Texas, for “murder intentionally caused death.” The warrant accused Otteson of stabbing another male “35 times about the chest, neck, hands and back.”

Otteson allegedly fled the state in the victim’s car. However, investigators obtained blood samples and other evidence at the scene. The case was an unsolved cold case for many years, according to the complaint.

A new investigator was assigned to the case in 2010. The investigator submitted the stored evidence to the University of North Texas Health Science Lab in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2011, UNT specialists identified the victim’s DNA, but also a profile of another male contributor, according to the complaint.

In 2013, the investigating officer was notified that fingerprints found at the scene matched those of Otteson. The fingerprints were entered into the system in 1983, according to the complaint, but recent enhancements in the identification helped to identify Otteson, according to the complaint.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was contacted, and a garbage pull at Otteson’s residence followed. DNA found in Otteson’s garbage was determined to be a “major contributor,” according to the complaint, to the victim’s nail clippings and blood stains found at the scene in 1983.

A Denton County, Texas, grand jury indicted Otteson for murder on Aug. 7, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to the complaint, Denton County authorities intend to extradite Otteson.

If he is convicted, he is eligible for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, according to the complaint.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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