Woman charged with theft of Go Fund Me makes first appearance in court
BAUDETTE, Minn.--A Baudette woman charged with stealing from a Go Fund Me account she set up to help the families of three men who went missing on Lake of the Woods is scheduled to appear in court again March 9.
BAUDETTE, Minn.-A Baudette woman charged with stealing from a Go Fund Me account she set up to help the families of three men who went missing on Lake of the Woods is scheduled to appear in court again March 9.
Retina Rayellen LaValla, 28, faces two charges of felony theft in Lake of the Woods County District Court. On Monday, Judge Donna Dixon ordered that LaValla could be released on electronic home monitoring and alcohol sensor.
She was released on bail of $1,500 if she met the conditions of the release, and $14,000 if she was released without the conditions. One of the conditions is LaValla is not allowed to contact the families of the missing boaters.
LaValla was arrested Feb. 9 and booked into the county jail. She was taken the same day to LakeWood Health Center in Baudette but later flown by helicopter to a Bemidji hospital for an undisclosed reason.
The Lake of the Woods Sheriff's Office began investigating LaValla in January after a report of a possible theft from the Go Fund Me account she set up in the aftermath of an October boating accident.
The bodies of Justin Kelly Haugtvedt, 22, and Cody Joseph Ostendorf, 24, were found about a week after they were reported missing Oct. 3, and the third boater, Keith Ayers, 28, still is missing.
LaValla told investigators she had not been working enough hours and "bills were piling up," so some of the donated money was used to pay for various bills and groceries, according to a criminal complaint.
She was still in custody as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Sheriff's Office. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 9.