Deputies respond to crash, find dead body wrapped in tarp (2024)

Olmsted Co. deputies responded to a one-vehicle crash and found 32-year-old Margot Lewis sitting on the side of Highway 90. A dead woman was discovered in her car.

EYOTA, Minn. — A 32-year-old Iowa woman has been charged with killing a transgender Minneapolis woman and hauling her body away from the crime scene.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office Wednesday filed 2nd Degree Murder charges against Margot Lewis of North Liberty, Iowa. She's accused taking the life of Liara Tsai, a 35-year-old music producer and DJ who moved to Minneapolis from Iowa City six weeks ago.

According to the criminal complaint, Lewis had flown from Boston to Minneapolis to visit Tsai on June 21. Surveillance camera footage captured Tsai picking up Lewis at MSP Airport that day. An autopsy revealed that Tsai died of multiple stab wounds in her apartment in the Elliot Park Neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

Tsai's death first came to light Saturday Morning, June 22 when Lewis crashed Tsai's car into a guardrail on Interstate 90 near the Eyota Exit east of Rochester. First responders found Lewis sitting in the median, and then discovered Tsai's lifeless body wrapped in bedding in the back seat of the vehicle.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson held a news conference Wednesday, saying both women knew each other and he didn't believe anyone else was involved.

"We know the individuals involved were transgender, but we don't have any indication that there was any hate. How that evolved we don't know," said Torgerson.

"So far, the suspect has not been cooperative with us. At some point it would be nice, obviously, if every suspect would talk to us. But we know that doesn’t always happen."

On Tuesday, prosecutors in Olmsted County charged Lewis of with a felony count of interference with a dead body or death scene in connection with the incident. A criminal complaint filed in the case says it all began when Olmsted County Deputies responded to reports of a single-car crash near the intersection of Interstate 90 and State Highway 42 and found a woman sitting in a folding chair near the center median.

According to the Hennepin County charging documents, there was also a dog at the accident scene on I-90. Investigators used the ID microchip to determine the dog belonged to the victim, and was tied her address in the 700 Block of East 16th Street.

A call was made later that day to the Minneapolis Police Department, which dispatched officers to Tsai's apartment. Inside, they found evidence of significant violence. Surveillance video from cameras in the area showed Tsai's car being driven out of the neighborhood towards the I-94 entrance ramp.

A bystander said the woman - soon identified as Lewis - was the driver of the Chevy Sonic that had crashed, and told them another Samaritan had provided her a chair to sit on.

The witnesses told one deputy that they believed there was a dead person in the vehicle. One walked over to the Sonic, looked inside and discovered a person wrapped in a bedsheet, a blanket, a futon-style mattress and a tarp. The complaint said the body was cold to the touch and there was no pulse. The deputy also reportedly saw dried blood soaked into the sheet.

That deputy said it was obvious the dead person - now identified as 35-year-old Liara Tsai of Minneapolis - did not die as a result of the crash.

Prosecutors say when the Olmsted County Medical Examiner's Office removed Tsai's body from the vehicle, a deputy saw a large wound on the right side of the victim's neck around the carotid artery.

Lewis was evaluated at Mayo Clinic Hospital and then taken to the Olmsted County Detention Center. She did not respond or answer questions from jail staff or investigators.

It is unclear from the complaint the relationship between Lewis and the victim, whether she was involved in the woman's death and, if so, what role she played.

Minneapolis police and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) are assisting with the investigation.

  • Police respond after car crashes into tree, find man fatally shot inside
  • WATCH: Home next to Rapidan Dam swallowed up by Blue Earth River
  • Hennepin County Board candidate had real estate license revoked for 'fraudulent practices'


Download the free KARE 11+ appfor Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota.

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities and across Minnesota in ourYouTube playlist:

Deputies respond to crash, find dead body wrapped in tarp (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated:

Views: 6004

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.