BEMIDJI, Minn. - The man who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl, after burning down a mobile home with the child's babysitter inside, has been sentenced to 52 years in prison.

Thirty-three-year-old Jacob Kinn, who previously was found competent to stand trial, was charged with second-degree murder on June 5. The next day, he pleaded guilty to that charge, plus previous charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, in connection to the assault of the young girl.

Kinn was sentenced Monday to 396 months on the murder charge (with credit for 369 days served), 57 months on the kidnapping charge and 171 months for the sexual assault.

Melissa Norby
Melissa Norby

According to the criminal complaint, authorities responded to a report of a mobile home on fire around 3:33 a.m. June 22 at the Hillcrest Manor Trailer Park, 3900 Irvine Avenue in Bemidji. Upon arrival, they found the body of Melissa Norby, later identified as being the caretaker of a 5-year-old girl who was reported missing.

An investigation and final autopsy report indicated Norby died of homicidal violence at the hands of Kinn, specifically via strangulation.

Police began a search for Kinn, who was said to have recently rekindled a sexual relationship with Norby, but did not locate him at his home. Investigators also learned Kinn was on probation and contacted his probation officer, who asked him to come to the Beltrami County Law Enforcement Center.

At that time, Kinn told his probation agent, "This is probably about that missing girl."

He arrived at the law enforcement center and was interviewed by authorities but denied any relation to Norby or the missing girl. Authorities then learned Kinn's phone had pinged off a Big Fork cellular tower on the morning of June 22 -- near where his brother owned a property.

In the midst of a massive search for the child, investigators responded to the Big Fork property and found the 5-year-old inside, wearing pajamas with her legs duct taped together.

A physical examination and subsequent tests revealed the girl had been sexually assaulted by Kinn. In an interview with officials at a family advocacy center, the girl identified Kinn as one of Norby's "friends" and said he put tape on her, took her to the cabin and told her he was never coming back.

Months after Kinn was charged with kidnapping and assault, investigators revealed they had reason to believe Norby was in on the plan to kidnap the young child.

According to a warrant, detectives reviewed text messages between Norby and Kinn. The detective writes that the two of them had been "apparently attempting to acquire the child for the purpose of sexually assaulting her."

At the sentencing Monday, three people read victim impact statements -- including the young victim.