A Minnesota man who confessed to killing and dismembering a teenage girl allegedly told two friends he had “cracked her skull open” with a lead pipe and then enlisted them to help cover his tracks, according to court documents.
Ethan Broad, 27, was charged this week with second-degree murder after admitting to authorities he killed 19-year-old Dystynee Avery and threw her body away in a dumpster outside his apartment building, according to the Moorhead Police Department.
Authorities also charged David Erno, 22, and Andrea Payne, 26, on Wednesday with accessory to murder in connection with Avery’s death, more than two weeks after the young woman was last seen at Broad’s apartment, where she been temporarily living. The trio are all being held at the Clay County Jail.
After a two-day search at the Clay County Landfill, which is about 20 miles from the crime scene, authorities on Wednesday afternoon recovered what they believe to be Avery’s body, which was sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for identification, the police department said in a press release.
Valarie Parker, Avery’s sister, said that the family was “blindsided” by news of the arrests, as all three were good friends with the 19-year-old. She said that Broad and Payne had both been in direct contact with the family throughout the investigation and never “showed remorse.”
“To the three people that murdered my baby sister, I do not feel any remorse for what they get in prison. I hope they get the death penalty, I hope they get every maximum sentence,” Parker told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “That was my best friend. They took my best friend from me and it hurts.”
Avery’s boyfriend, Jordan Yarborough, told The Daily Beast the teenager was “really close with all of them” and was shocked to learn of their alleged involvement. Yarborough said that while he and Avery’s family are “still struggling and still processing” the horrific crime, they are most stunned by her close friends’ alleged role in her murder.
“She looked to these people like they were family members. They were her family,” Parker added. “She looked up to Ethan like a brother and Andy like a sister. She adored Andy and Ethan. I did not know David personally though, but I spoke to the other two countless times.”
Authorities say Broad was one of several people who reported the teenager missing, stating in an initial police interview that he had not seen Avery since April 4. Yarborough said that on April 4, Broad had called him and Avery’s mother, Doreen, to say that the two had gotten into a fight the night before and that she had vanished afterward.
“A bunch of B.S. because obviously he had already taken her life. She was already gone,” Doreen Avery told Valley News Live.
Parker said that Broad also called her “when the news came out,” and the two spoke for 45 minutes as the 27-year-old explained that Avery got “into a car full of guys and that she had disappeared.” “I automatically didn’t believe it and was suspicious of him because she wouldn’t do that,” Parker added, noting that while she was “blindsided” about the news of his arrest, he had previously “put hands” on her little sister.
According to court documents obtained by Valley News Live on Thursday, Payne admitted to police that she was in the apartment—where she was also living—when Avery was killed.
When she came home from work, Payne heard Broad and Avery fighting in the bedroom but did not get up from the couch to check on her roommates, she told police. At one point, Broad came out of the bedroom and said Avery might claim he had raped her. Avery then went back in the bedroom, and Payne said she heard “loud thumps” coming from inside, the court documents state.
Afterward, Broad emerged from the room, telling Payne he had hit Avery over the head with a lead pipe and “cracked her skull open,” she told police, according to court documents. But instead of checking on her friend, Payne told authorities she left the apartment and came back several hours later with Erno.
As she was making a sandwich, Broad allegedly told her that he had killed Avery.
In a follow-up interview, Broad admitted to police that Avery was dead, but claimed someone else had fatally hit her over the head with a lead pipe and cut her throat. He did confess, however, to dismembering Avery’s body inside his garage and putting her remains in several bags, police said. He told cops he threw her remains into the dumpsters outside his apartment.
Surveillance videos show the 27-year-old leaving the apartment’s garage alone and dragging a blue tote bin from his apartment building to the garage, cops said. In the garage, investigators also found a saw with traces of human remains and the blue bin with “a large amount of blood inside,” the complaint states.
When police confronted Broad with the evidence, which also included blood found in his apartment, he admitted he killed Avery and dismembered her alone—but insisted it was out of “self-defense,” the complaint states.
In the new court documents, authorities say that Payne not only kept Broad’s secret but also continued to live in his apartment and give misleading information to police about Avery’s whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Parker said that throughout the investigation, Payne called her every day to discuss their mutual grief over Avery’s disappearance. She said that Payne listened to her as she cried for hours and even insisted that she knew nothing about the crime.
“I talked to her every day until she was arrested,” Parker said. “For Andy to bald face lie to me and say she was at work when this happened is so hurtful. I am numb, hurt, angry. It’s a little mixture of every emotion.”
Authorities allege Payne also helped Broad cover up the crime with Erno’s help. During a police interview, Erno said Broad and Payne asked him to get the teenager’s computer and destroy it. According to court documents, Erno admitted he had wiped Avery’s computer and knew that Broad had murdered Avery and put her in the garage.
While he’s devastated by his girlfriend’s death, Yarborough said that “seeing how much people care and are actually trying to help gives me a lot of relief and hope in this situation.”
“Dystynee was a really kind person who would light up your world and shed light in the darkest times,” he said. “She was a wonderful person to meet with, her mood always brought the happiness and joy out of people no matter what she was going through. She just wanted to make sure everyone was happy and having a great time.
Parker reiterated that sentiment, adding that while the details of the crime are “numbing because she trusted these people,” her family is getting more closure as the information comes out.
“It’s closure. It’s closure but it’s not getting any easier on me,” she said, adding that Avery would want people to focus on her “bubbly personality” and remind everyone to “tell your friends and family that you love them.” “Make sure you tell them you love them because you never know when something may happen. And be careful about who you trust.”