Minnesota state Sen. Nicole Mitchell is accused by officials in Becker County of breaking into her stepmother's home to get her father's ashes and sentimental items, authorities say.
CNN  — 

A state senator in Minnesota has been charged with first-degree felony burglary on suspicion of breaking into her stepmother’s house Monday to retrieve sentimental items related to her late father, including his ashes, according to a probable cause statement obtained by CNN.

Police responded to a report of a break-in around 4:45 a.m. Monday in Detroit Lakes and found state Sen. Nicole Mitchell in the basement, dressed in black clothes and a black hat, according to the probable cause statement.

While being placed under arrest, Mitchell, 49, said to her stepmother, “I was just trying to get a couple of my dad’s things because you wouldn’t talk to me anymore,” the probable cause document said.  

“Clearly, I’m not good at this,” Mitchell told the officers, according to the document. “I know I did something bad.”

The senator said her father had recently died and her stepmother had cut contact with her and other family members, according to the probable cause document. She told officers she hoped to retrieve items of “sentimental value,” including pictures, a flannel shirt and her father’s ashes, according to the document.

When an officer asked Mitchell what got her “to this stage,” she said it was her father’s ashes, the document reads.

Officers searched Mitchell’s backpack, which contained two laptops, a cell phone, her driver’s license, Senate identification and Tupperware, the probable cause affidavit reads. One of the laptops had her stepmother’s name on the screen, the court document reads. Mitchell said her stepmother had given her the laptop “way back when,” according to the document, but the stepmother said she did not give the laptop to Mitchell.

Mitchell was released without bond on the condition she not have contact with her stepmother, among other restrictions, her attorney, Bruce Ringstrom Jr., told CNN. A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for June 10, according to Minnesota court records.

CNN contacted Mitchell’s office for comment and did not receive an immediate response.

In a statement shared by her attorney on Thursday, Mitchell said she was “extremely disappointed that the complaint lacks the complete information of the incident including important context, including that I have known the other person involved in this incident since I was four and care deeply about her.”

“I am confident that a much different picture will emerge when all of the facts are known. I am as committed to my constituents today as the day I was elected, including important work for veterans and children, and I do not intend to resign,” she said.

Becker County Sheriff's Office
Minnesota state Sen. Nicole Mitchell.

On Wednesday, state Senate Republicans filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell, a Democrat. “Senators must be held to the highest standard of ethical conduct. Public trust has been violated,” state Sen. Eric Lucero said on the Senate floor.

An Ethics Committee investigation is required to begin within 30 days, but Lucero made a motion for the committee to start its work immediately – a move Democrats spoke out against.

Mitchell did not attend Wednesday’s Senate session. Ringstrom, her attorney, said in a statement, “Nicole is doing well, all things considered. She is motivated to get back to work and to assist in the preparation of her defense.”

Mitchell posted a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, saying that she entered the home to check on a family member because she had “learned of medical information which caused me grave concern.” The senator did not elaborate on which family member she was referring to.

“Unfortunately, I startled this close relative, exacerbating paranoia, and I was accused of stealing, which I absolutely deny,” Mitchell said in the post.