MANKATO — A knife found in a car that was taken from a man who was beaten and left for dead in Le Hillier Sunday will be tested to see if it can be linked to an April 29 stabbing in Mankato.
Dustin Murilla, 23, was arrested Sunday after he was found driving a car owned by a 25-year-old Owatonna man who had been found bleeding next to Blue Earth County Road 69 in Le Hillier earlier that night.
The victim told sheriff’s deputies Murilla had tied him up, dragged him down a gravel path near the county road and beat him with a tire iron car jack. He also said Murilla used the tire iron to force a pair of boxer shorts down his throat.
The victim managed to untie himself and walk up to the county road, where a passing driver found him bleeding. That person called 911 at about 8:15 p.m. to report the assault and to ask for an ambulance.
Murilla was found driving the victim’s car on Hoffman Road in Mankato about three hours later. After he was arrested, police searched the car and found several items that were confiscated as evidence.
Those items included a box cutting knife that Mankato Department of Public Safety investigators suspect was used in an April 29 stabbing in an alley off Grove Street, according to an affidavit requesting a search warrant.
Knowing Murilla was a suspect in the Grove Street stabbing, a Mankato detective asked to see some of the evidence confiscated by the Sheriff’s Department after he learned Murilla had been arrested and knives were found with him, the affidavit said.
The detective reported one of the knives matched a small knife described by Grove Street victim and a person who witnessed that stabbing. The knife was turned over to the detective Tuesday so it can be tested for DNA, according to court documents.
In a search warrant affidavit filed last month, Mankato detectives reported they found a cell phone, which they suspect belongs to Murilla, in the area where the April stabbing occurred.
Other items confiscated during the search include nylon rope, two tire irons, a car jack, the victim’s wallet, another knife and a flashlight. Swabs were also taken from blood stains found on the car.
The victim told investigators he had traveled to Mankato to look for methamphetamine and had met Murilla, who told him he was a member of a drug cartel, a couple days before the alleged assault.
At some point the victim said something Murilla found disrespectful, the victim reported. He believes that’s why Murilla hit him in the head with a flashlight while they were in a county park south of Eagle Lake, tied him up, drove him to Le Hillier, dragged him down the path and beat him until he pretended to be dead.
The victim was taken to the hospital in Rochester where he received surgery for throat injuries, the criminal complaint said. A hospital spokeswoman said Friday that public information about his condition was not available.