Cloquet man charged with abandoning daughter while mom's in jail
With Marie Margaret Majerle of Cloquet in jail, accused of shooting her current but estranged husband, Majerle's 14-year-old daughter was at home with her father in early January.
Then her father -- John Edwin Bemis III, Majerle's ex-husband -- disappeared, according to Carlton County authorities, who charged Bemis this week with child neglect.
"She doesn't have her mother, and her dad has up and left without any explanation," Carlton County
Attorney Thom Pertler said Thursday after the warrant for Bemis was issued on charges of child neglect. "She's fortunate she has a lot of people who care about her."
Majerle, 36, is accused of going to the Cloquet home of her husband, Richard Alan Majerle, 38, early on Jan. 6 and, after they had spent some time together, shooting him in the upper chest with a .22 caliber rifle while he was in the sauna. Marie Majerle is also charged with removing or altering a serial number on that firearm.
Richard Majerle survived the shooting and is out of the hospital.
Cloquet investigators learned that Majerle had a minor child with Bemis and that Marie Majerle had been staying with Bemis and their 14-year-old daughter before the shooting.
Police searched the Bemis home on the 200 block of Third Street in Cloquet the day after the shooting and found a drill press with fresh metal shavings "consistent with the gun where the serial numbers were shaved off," Pertler told the court when Marie Majerle was arraigned.
According to the criminal complaint against Bemis, investigators questioned Bemis on Jan. 6 about Marie Majerle's whereabouts on the night of the shooting. Bemis agreed to meet with police again the next day to answer more questions.
However, when Bemis' and Majerle's daughter got home from school on Jan. 7, her father wasn't there, the complaint said. Other family members also said they didn't know where he was.
Investigators said Bemis disappeared Jan. 7 with various personal items, including a large amount of cash. He also left his job with no explanation, they said.
The family officially reported him missing Jan. 9, and police issued a missing person's alert for Bemis, with no success.
To this date, according to the complaint dated Jan. 30, Bemis has neither spoken to family members nor to his daughter. No custodial arrangements had been made for her, the complaint said.
The warrant for Bemis will be issued nationwide, Pertler said.
"If anyone has contact with him -- if he gets a speeding ticket somewhere -- he will be taken into custody," Pertler said.
Bemis is not a suspect in the Majerle case at this time, Pertler said.
"It's no secret we want to talk to him about the Majerle case," he said. "But this (warrant) is for abandoning his child."
Bemis is white, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes. Authorities said they believe Bemis is traveling in a 2005 red GMC Sierra extended-cab pickup truck with a Minnesota "Support Our Troops" license plate numbered 140DH and has a 2009 red Kawasaki Enduro motorcycle with Minnesota plates 60170MG.