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Cass Lake man who died after assault ID'd in court documents

CASS LAKE—A Cass Lake man who died after an assault June 8 has been identified in court documents as William Clifford Jones, 25.

Three search warrants signed by a judge on June 8 and made public June 16 reveal details leading up to Jones' death, though the documents do not identify any suspects or include a cause of death.

According to an affidavit requesting permission to search a mobile home at 6528 Northwood Loop Northwest in Cass Lake:

Jones' girlfriend—identified in documents as Brittany Reed—found him lying face down and bloody inside the home more than an hour and a half after he left the home the couple shared. Earlier on June 7, Jones had told Reed that he was going to a friend's house and left on his motorcycle.

Reed fell asleep and woke up about an hour and a half later. She tried calling Jones but he didn't answer. Eventually a woman answered Jones' phone and told Reed that Jones was "acting crazy" and had ran away from a home in Northwood Loop.

The woman who answered Jones' phone told Reed where to find Jones. When Reed got to the address a woman identified in the affidavit as Lorraine Hulett told Reed that Jones had run inside her house "bloodied and acting crazy." Jones allegedly attempted to hit Hulett with a pan and a man at the home intervened and put Jones in a chokehold.

Reed found Jones just inside the home. His face was bloody, the affidavit said, but Reed thought she could feel a pulse. Reed and another woman took Jones to the Indian Health Services hospital in Cass Lake where he was pronounced dead.

When they saw Jones, investigators noticed "several" head and face injuries that may have been caused by blunt-force trauma. An investigator also noticed "a deformity" to Jones' trachea.

While investigators were speaking with the friend Jones left his home to visit—identified as Timothy Adams—they learned that Jones had abruptly left Adams' house, leaving his phone, glasses and hat inside. A witness told police that, after Jones left, they saw a Dodge Avenger pull into the home's driveway. The witness also saw a gold car pull in.

The witness identified four people who they said were inside the Avenger; Reed later told police two of those people had assaulted Jones two weeks ago.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents found a Dodge Avenger STX June 9 at the home of one of the people identified by the witness. One of the four people identified refused to speak with police, but another admitted to being in the Avenger at Adams' house on June 7. The person also told police that the other three people were in the car as well, and reported seeing a gold car pull up next to the Avenger.

It is not clear whether law enforcement has identified any suspects in Jones' death, and a cause of death has not been released. His body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy. Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch was not available for comment Monday.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796