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Sister, Daughter Helped Man Stash Girlfriend's Body, Police Say

Thompson's daughter and sister are charged with helping him move his long-time girlfriend's body from his Minneapolis apartment to a field behind a St. Louis Park industrial business.

Walter Thompson III, his sister Senaca and his daughter Rachel. Credit: St. Louis Park police.
Walter Thompson III, his sister Senaca and his daughter Rachel. Credit: St. Louis Park police.

(Zac Farber wrote this article.)

Walter Thompson III is accused of beating and possibly kicking his long-time girlfriend to death during a fight, and recruiting the help of his daughter and sister to dispose of the body behind a Cedar Lake Road industrial business.

Thompson, 54, has been charged with second-degree murder for his role in the death of Nerissa Annette Shaw, 46, of Minneapolis. 

Richfield police responded to four domestic-violence calls in 2011–12 involving Shaw and Thompson, according to the Star Tribune.

Thompson’s 25-year-old daughter, Rachel Lee Thompson of Minneapolis, and his 53-year-old sister, Senaca Ann Thompson of Brooklyn Center, have been charged with felony accomplice after the fact.

Thompson has a lengthy criminal rap sheet (detailed below), including multiple charges of domestic abuse against Shaw. In 2011 Shaw received an order of protection against him; he was convicted of violating the order in 2012.

According to the criminal complaint:

A relative told police that for about two weeks before Shaw’s death, she lived with the relative because Thompson had beaten her up, causing significant facial injuries, and threatened to kill her.Thompson told police that Shaw came to his Minneapolis apartment at 15 East Grant Street on Sept. 13, where they drank together.

Thompson’s daughter said she came to her father’s apartment the evening of Sept. 12 and found him with a swollen hand and “more depressed than usual,” according to the criminal complaint.

In Thompson’s apartment, police found medication in Shaw’s name, a blood-dark substance in the shower drain and on his mattress and a journal in which he wrote about his violent history with Shaw.

On Sept. 13, at her father’s request, Rachel Thompson brought him a “large container” but he did not invite her into his home.

Two days later, she returned to the apartment, accompanied by her aunt Senaca, to help him move the container. It was now full and heavy, the strong smell of bleach overriden by something foul.

Walter Thompson helped them push the container into his daughter’s car, which the three drove to his sister’s Brooklyn Center apartment.

Surveillance footage from Thompson’s apartment building shows him and two women moving a large, heavy storage bin. In the videotape, the bin’s cover opens to reveal a swath of distinctively designed purple fabric that police said matched that found under Shaw’s body on Cedar Lake Road.

Later on Sept. 15, the three drove with the container to St. Louis Park, where Thompson got out of the car and emptied the container, Rachel Thompson told police. The container was taken to Senaca Thompson’s apartment.

Shaw’s naked body was found by an employee of Angstrom Analytical Inc. on Sept. 17.

The medical examiner ruled that Shaw was killed from multiple blunt force injuries to the face. Her jaw was fractured; her left kidney, right ear and liver were lacerated and her throat was marked by petechial hemmorhages, indicative of strangulation. Her ribs appeared to have been fractured after death. The medical examiner said something stronger than fists must have been used to cause the injuries; she was likely kicked or stomped on.

On Tuesday, once news reports started to appear about the body found in St. Louis Park, Walter Thompson went to his sister’s apartment to meet with her and his daughter.   

Thompson apologized to his daughter, saying “he had made a mistake and it was an accident,” she later told police.

She told him she was scared because she had seen “that shit.”

Her father told her to drive off somewhere, but her aunt calmed her down and told her not to worry, that they’d “fix it,” that the police didn’t have the container.

The three Thompsons are expected to make their first court appearance on Monday. Walter Thompson faces up to 40 years behind bars. His daughter and sister face up to 20 years.

A Summary of Thompson’s Criminal History

February 1990: Convicted of disorderly conduct in Hennepin County.

August 1992: Convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Hennepin County.

March 1994: Convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Hennepin County.

November 1994: Pleaded guilty to fifth-degree domestic assault in Hennepin County.

April 1995: Convicted of indecent exposure in Hennepin County.

November 1998: Convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Hennepin County.

February 1999: Convicted of fifth-degree domestic assault in Hennepin County.

November 1999: Pleaded guilty to domestic assault in Hennepin County.

December 2001: Pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Hennepin County.

June 2002: Pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault in Hennepin County.

August 2002: Pleaded guilty to one gross misdemeanor count of indecent exposure in Hennepin County.

May 2008: Pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Ramsey County.

May 2009: Pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Hennepin County.

March 2010: Pleaded guilty to public consumption of alcohol in Anoka County.

July 2010: Convicted of public urination in Hennepin County.

April 2012: Pleaded guilty to violating a domestic abuse order of protection in Hennepin County.

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