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Two charged with beating man, leaving him for dead along Minn. road

Natausha Smith1 / 2
Wade Sorenson2 / 2

DULUTH, Minn.—Two Duluth residents have been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder after a man was allegedly severely beaten, bound and gagged and left for dead alongside a northeast Minnesota road.

Natausha Rae Smith, 34, and Wade Allen Sorensen, 37, were charged in district court on Thursday, March 8, with aiding and abetting kidnapping, first-degree aiding and abetting assault, and first-degree aiding and abetting attempted premeditated murder. The most serious charge, aiding and abetting kidnapping, carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Both suspects remain in the St. Louis County Jail. Sorensen is being held without bail and Smith's bail was set at $100,000.

According to the criminal complaint:

Officers were called to St. Luke's hospital at about 9:45 p.m. March 2 regarding a man with his head covered in blood and lumps, a swollen face, ligature marks on his wrists and ankles, yellow plastic rope bound around his wrists, and a bloody bandana and a padlock around his neck.

Smith believed that the man had molested a child who was related to her and police were scheduled to interview Smith's family members on March 2. However, earlier on the day of the interview, Smith had the man come to her Duluth residence. She lead the man into a basement bedroom, where she and a 17-year-old girl got him to the ground using a choking maneuver and hit him over the head with nunchucks. They tied him to a chair by his wrists and ankles, then punched him and hit him multiple times with the nunchucks, the complaint said.

Smith then went to the scheduled police interview regarding the molestation allegation and returned two hours later with three people, including Sorensen. They went into the basement and secured a padlock into the man's mouth using a bandana to gag him. They put the man in a car and he tried to fight back, but was kicked in the mouth where the padlock was.

They allegedly placed a plastic bag over the man's head to keep blood off the car's interior and drove him around for about an hour while continuing to assault him. The man told police that he heard talk in the car about "finishing him off" and "disposing" of him, according to the complaint.

They eventually pushed the man out of the car and, on the side of the road, Sorensen attempted to slit the man's throat. The man was able to avoid it by pushing his head into the snow, but he was cut from his throat to his ear. They kicked and stomped on the back of the man's neck multiple times and the man played dead until the assault ended. He was found crawling on the side of a road and taken to the hospital. The complaint does not specify the location where he was found.

During an interview following her arrest on March 3, Smith told police that she "wanted to put the fear of God" into the man, according to the complaint.