Two recent Winona County deaths are one step closer to resolution, after Sheriff’s Department officials sent an investigative report to the Winona County Attorney’s office for review in one case, and are organizing a Winona Area Crime Stoppers reward for information on the other.
Former Winona State University Professor Mickey Ellenbecker, 72, was found dead in his Pickwick home on March 8. Sheriff’s Department investigators were initially called to the scene by Ellenbecker’s 64-year-old friend, who told police Ellenbecker had been shot in the back of the head. Police listed Ellenbecker’s friend as a “person of interest” in the shooting; the friend told investigators Ellenbecker had been accidentally shot with a 22-caliber revolver while he was making lunch.
Winona County Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude said last week that the investigative report into Ellenbecker’s death had been given to Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman for review, adding that the Sheriff’s Department had not formally recommended any charges in the case.
Glenn Peter Brown, 57, of Winona, was found dead in the backyard of a Rollingstone residence on March 16. Initial reports indicated Brown had suffered several lacerations to his head after leaving a Rollingstone bar at around 1 a.m. that morning, and a trail of blood led to where his body was found from an area near a park about a block and a half away.
There were no hard objects near the area where the blood trail began, and Winona County Sheriff’s Officials investigated to determine whether Brown had fallen or had been assaulted. Last week, Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand indicated that the investigation would continue with a reward offered by the Winona Area Crime Stoppers.
“We’re not ruling out anything,” Brand explained of the investigation into Brown’s death. “I can’t say one way or another; neither can the coroner. [Brown] died from trauma — head injuries — and hypothermia. We don’t have any indication there was foul play, but we don’t know what happened, either.”
Brand urged anyone with information to come forward in order to help provide closure for the Brown family. Tips to Winona Area Crime Stoppers may be given anonymously. Call 507-457-6530 with any information.