Woman charged with strangling aunt in Dakota Co.

WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Dakota County woman is charged with murder after police say she strangled her aunt in a fit of rage. 

A criminal complaint details the charges of second degree murder with intent filed against 40-year-old Divina Sulentich. 

West St. Paul Police were called to an apartment on July 12 after a welfare check located a dead female inside. The woman, 60-year-old Mary Sulentich, was found laying on her back on a bed . An autopsy conducted the next day determined that she died of fractured thyroid cartilages, consistent with being strangled. 

Investigators talked with the woman who discovered the victim and learned that Divina Sulentich had been staying with her aunt Mary to help after the older woman had knee surgery. A records check indicated that police had been called to the apartment previously after the two women had a serious argument. Police then located Divina Sulentich and interviewed her. Detectives say the defendant admitted that the two had argued over illegal Vicodin purchases in Mary Sulentich's name. At one point in the evening Divina Sulentich said she returned to the apartment and saw her aunt with a cell phone in her hand, threatening to call police and tell them about the purchases of illegal narcotics. 

At that point, Divina Sulentich reportedly said the two began fighting, eventually ending up on the bed where the younger woman straddled her aunt, squeezing her neck until she went limp. Knowing her aunt was dead, Divina Sulentich stayed in the apartment with the dead woman for two days, until she left in her aunt's car and did not return. The death was unknown until the victim's friend discovered her body July 12. 

Divina Sulentich is currently in the Sherburne County Jail, serving a 120 day sentence on another matter. 

 

 

 

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