NORTH ST PAUL, Minn. — A North St. Paul man was charged with second-degree murder after officials found the remains of a woman inside an apartment Thursday evening.
Authorities say Melvin Bilbro, 41, was arrested without incident the morning of Friday, Aug. 26, and booked into the Ramsey County Jail. On Monday, Bilbro was formally charged with second-degree murder.
The BCA and Ramsey County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 43-year-old Shanna Daniels. The ME's office determined Daniels died of a homicide, though the cause of her death is still pending.
A GoFundMe started by Daniels' aunt has raised more than $8,000 as of Wednesday, Aug. 31 to help with funeral and burial costs. According to the fundraiser, Daniels was a cancer survivor and underwent a radical bilateral mastectomy earlier this year.
"We were so proud of her perseverance, endurance and courage through it all," Erica Whitaker-Logan wrote. "Shanna fought that fight! We never imagined she would have to endure another unexpected crisis that would brutally take her life."
City officials said the North St. Paul Fire Department responded to an apartment fire on the 2200 block of South Avenue East around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 28. When they arrived, they entered the building and located Daniels' remains inside her apartment.
According to a criminal complaint, a witness saw Bilbro, identified as Daniels' boyfriend, inside her apartment at the time of the fire. When officers obtained a search warrant for Bilbro's apartment they found multiple items that had blood of them, a set of keys in his apartment for Daniels' residence and Daniels' dog covered in soot, the documents said.
Officers eventually located Bilbro sleeping under a Highway 36 overpass on the Gateway State Trail in Washington County. The criminal complaint said Bilbro couldn't explain why there were bloody items in his apartment, and denied having Daniels' keys.
The case remains under investigation.
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