Woman faces arson, assault charges

NEW ULM — A 37-year-old New Ulm woman found walking in a nearby alley by police clearing the scene of an apartment fire Sunday night was charged with felony first-degree arson, felony fourth-degree assault and gross misdemeanor obstructing legal process for interfering with a peace officer in Brown County District Court Tuesday.

Judge Robert Docherty set unconditional bail for Tanya M. Lieder, 509 1/2 Center St., at $50,000. Bail was $25,000 with conditions. Docherty said he’s known Lieder for quite a while and the alleged offenses are not consistent with her past behavior.

Lieder was ordered to abstain from alcohol, have no contact with an alleged victim except in their official capacity and stay away from her residence after retrieving personal belongings with law enforcement.

Lieder said she wanted an attorney. Her next court hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 31. She remained in custody Tuesday afternoon.

According to court documents, the New Ulm Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to 509 1/2 Center St. for a smoke and fire alarm going off at 9:42 p.m. Saturday. At the scene, police saw smoke coming from second floor windows, toward the entry on an alley walk to the apartments.

Officer T. J. Ibberson grabbed a pry bar and used it to open a door to gain access for firefighters.

After the fire was extinguished, New Ulm Fire Chief Paul Macho and Police Sgt. Jeremy Reed were led to the apartment where the fire took place. Fire Marshal Casey Stots arrived at 12:15 a.m. Sunday and observed two fire origin points in the kitchen. He suspected the fire was intentionally set. New Ulm Police Senior Investigator Jeff Hohensee also suspected arson.

Hohensee said the fire had two points of origin and that burn patterns were consistent with arson. He said more aspects of the fire are being tested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Police brought one of the apartment’s occupants to the apartment where the fire began. The occupant said he left for work at about 1:30 p.m. that day and Lieder was in the apartment. He said he was trying to get a hold of her but was unable to.

At about 2:31 a.m., police were clearing the fire scene when they noticed Lieder walking north through an alley behind A to Zinnia, near the apartment building. Lieder tried walking away from approaching police. An officer took a hold of her arm, she tried to pull away, then pushed an officer before she was handcuffed.

Police transported Lieder to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC), and an investigator tried to talk to her. Ultimately, she was transported by ambulance to the New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) Emergency Room for a mental health evaluation.

Officers followed Allina Ambulance to NUMC and signed a 72-hour peace officer mental illness hold on Lieder. When the officers reported for their afternoon shift, they learned that Lieder left a relative’s address in New Ulm earlier and that her family was concerned for her well-being.

Lieder was found at 7:15 a.m. by police on the 500 block of Center Street. She agreed to talk to police but invoked her Fifth Amendment right and was arrested for arson.

Lieder became visibly angry and upset about being arrested and jailed and had to be handcuffed so she could be pat-searched. Police handcuffed her, she appeared to calm down and handcuffs were removed. All officers left the jail.

Walking to the holding area, Lieder made an abrupt turn and tried to walk out into the jail hallway. A correctional officer told her to stop, turn around and go to the holding cell. Lieder refused and walked toward a hallway door. The officer told her to turn around but Lieder continued to walk so the officer grabbed the back of Lieder’s uniform shirt to turn her around and re-direct her to the holding cell.

Lieder swung at the officer with her right hand, hitting the side of the officer’s head and neck area. The officer took Lieder to the floor and tried to handcuff her. Lieder tried to hit and kick the officer, then tried to get both of her legs wrap around the officer’s waist and get on top of her. The officer got behind Lieder but was unable to get handcuffs on both of her hands.

Lieder continued to call the officer names while trying to hit and kick her. The officer’s radio came off her belt and slid across the floor, out of her reach. The officer yelled at another officer via intercom to call dispatch for more help. State trooper Melanie Cook was the first one into the jail to help. Other officers arrived shortly.

After Lieder was secured into a holding cell, the officer went into a restroom to check for injuries. There was a cut bleeding down her face, onto the floor, a small scratch on her left cheek, a large scratch on her chin and another on her upper lip. In addition, her right knee was swollen and sore.

Photographs were taken of the officer’s injuries. Lieder didn’t appear to have any injuries and didn’t complain of any injuries.


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