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Judge rules murder case may proceed against woman accused of killing toddler

Jodi Lindvall

A Ransom County judge ruled there is enough probable cause for a murder case to go forward against a Fort Ransom woman accused of battering her toddler son to death last September.

But one of the felony child abuse charges she faced has been dismissed in the order by Judge Jay Schmitz.

Jodi Renae Lindvall, 29, is charged with murdering her son after was taken to Sanford Health with a life-threatening head injury on Sept. 18 last year. Her 22-month-old son, Bentley, died Sept. 22. She claimed he sustained the injury while struggling during a diaper change.

Court documents say the boy not only had the head injury but also multiple bruises in unusual locations and multiple healing fractures, indicating old injuries.

Schmitz found in his order that the state had made a case for Lindvall to stand trial on the murder and a child abuse charge linked to a recent injury. She's set for a March 6 arraignment on those charges.

In the order, he said that the state's timeline showed Lindvall was the only person who had access to the boy from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day Bentley was found limp and badly injured in his bedroom in his mother's home.

The order also states that Lindvall's statements to police about what she saw and what happened to the boy "are somewhat confusing and possibly contradictory. In fact, the veracity of her statements can be questioned on grounds they reflect improper influence by her father or his family."

In court documents arguing there wasn't probable cause to continue the murder case, Lindvall's defense attorney writes that a 6-year-old girl who lived with Lindvall and who was questioned by police wasn't credible, and more suspicion should fall on her father, Lindvall's live-in boyfriend at the time.

Bruce Quick, an attorney for John Holub, the boyfriend, told The Forum Holub denies any involvement in the boy's death and that he wasn't home at the time. Quick also said that investigators have told his client he's a witness, not a suspect.

Schmitz also ruled there was not probable cause for a second child abuse charge filed for the older injuries.

In his Feb. 19 order, the judge ruled that the state has no evidence as to when or how the older injuries occurred, or that he was in his mother's care when the injuries happened.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541