2 in custody after human remains found along central Minnesota lake

Highway workers found a plastic storage container sealed with bungee cords and tape near Mille Lacs Lake.

A photo of the scene from a drone.
A drone photo of a tote containing human remains found Tuesday, March 21, 2023, along the shoreline of Mille Lacs Lake in Mille Lacs County.
Contributed / Mille Lacs County Sheriff

KATHIO TOWNSHIP, Minn. — Two people have been arrested and charged after human remains were found Tuesday, March 21, along the shoreline of Mille Lacs Lake in Mille Lacs County.

Bradley Allen Weyaus, 21, of Isle, Minnesota, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, and interference with a dead body or scene of death-concealing a body and evidence.

Weyaus’ girlfriend, Alexis Marion Elling, 21, of Rochester, was arrested Thursday and charged with felony aiding an offender as an accomplice after the fact.

Officials identified the victim as Rodney Pendegayosh Jr., 25, of Isle. His remains were found Tuesday after highway workers clearing an area near Mille Lacs Lake found a plastic storage container sealed with bungee cords and tape.

The employees attempted to move the storage container but encountered difficulties due to the weight and location. At that time, the employees opened the container and observed a severed human foot. The employees immediately contacted law enforcement.


A law enforcement officer was responding to the scene when a white Saturn traveling in the same direction refused to pull to the side and let the officer pass. Instead, the driver of the Saturn began accelerating at a high rate of speed. The officer recognized the vehicle as being associated with Weyaus, court documents said.

Bradley Allen Weyaus
Bradley Allen Weyaus
Contributed / Mille Lacs County Jail

In pursuit of the white Saturn, the chase approached the location where the storage container was found and the Saturn made a high‐speed turn away from the location and in the direction of state Highway 169.

Law enforcement located the Saturn on a rural property near Southport Road in Mille Lacs County. A resident of the property indicated the individual driving the Saturn was Weyaus and he was hiding in one of the buildings on the property. He was seen exiting the vehicle with one or more duffel bags.

Weyaus was eventually located and arrested on outstanding warrants and for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Officers recovered two duffel bags with a number of items, including a hammer, a hacksaw and industrial tape. The industrial tape appeared to match the tape on the storage container.

In a search of the Saturn’s interior, a spent shotgun shell was found.

According to court documents, law enforcement received information around March 20 about Pendegayosh being missing from the area.

Law enforcement determined Weyaus was seen recently staying at a residence on Main Street in Isle and he was seen with a storage container at that location. A search of the residence revealed there were several areas of carpet removed from the floor of the residence.


Inside the residence, law enforcement located a handwritten note to the apartment's owner, which indicated remorse and sorrow for causing them trouble, with the note’s author saying they would be leaving for a long time due to their "mistake." The author of the note further said they would not allow themselves to be captured by law enforcement, according to court documents.

A search of the dumpster connected to the residence located several trash bags, which had several pieces of carpet with stains indicative of blood embedded within them. The carpet also appeared to match the carpet in the residence.

Law enforcement located an identification card, cut into two pieces, belonging to Pendegayosh. Also within the trash bags, law enforcement located a receipt from a local hardware store that recorded the purchase of items including tools such as a knife and tool sharpener, as well as rubber gloves, a black mask, industrial tape, and empty boxes for 12-gauge shotgun shells.

According to court documents, law enforcement made contact with Elling on Thursday and spoke to her regarding the homicide. She admitted to being in a relationship with Weyaus and being involved with the events around the victim.

Alexis Marion Elling
Alexis Marion Elling
Contributed / Mille Lacs County Sheriff

Elling told investigators Weyaus had told her that he had killed Pendegayosh and his body was in the storage container. However, she said she did not assist in placing the body in the container, which she said was already loaded and sealed when she was made aware of it. She did admit a fake fingernail found inside the storage container belonged to her.

Elling said she helped remove the container from a residence on Main Street in Isle knowing Pendegayosh’s body was inside, placing it in a vehicle and then driving it to a residence in Wahkon, where it was unloaded. She also said she took a long gun case with a shotgun inside, which was later sold for drugs, from the Isle residence.

Weyaus and Elling are scheduled to make their initial appearance in Mille Lacs County District Court on April 4.

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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