Ian Hasselwander has been charged with the murder of Morgan Bates. According to police records the body of Morgan Bates was found a week after she was reported missing, the twenty year old woman had been strangled and found in a State park. Shortly after Morgan Bates remains were found police would arrest Ian Hasselwander who has been charged with with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree strangulation, and concealment of a human corpse. Police are trying to determine whether or not Ian Hasselwander and Morgan Bates knew each other or whether it was a random attack.
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As an outpouring of grief and remembrances took place to remember the life of a 20-year-old woman whose body was discovered a week ago in a state park in this town, police announced the arrest of a Petersburgh man in connection with her death.
Ian Hasselwander, 22, was arrested Friday night by Rensselaer County sheriff’s investigators looking into the death of Morgan Bates, 20, of Washington County. Her body was found in the 175-acre Cherry Plain State Park last Sunday near Black River Road.
Ian Hasselwander is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree strangulation and concealment of a human corpse, all felonies, according to the sheriff’s department. He was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail pending his next court date.
Authorities did not say how Bates and Hasselwander may have known each other and family members declined to comment. The Washington County sheriff’s office had previously put out a missing person’s report for Bates, of Eagle Bridge, after she was possibly last sighted last in Petersburgh, Rensselaer County, at 2 a.m. Feb. 22. Officials said soon after she was found that the death was suspicious in nature.
Other agencies working on the case included the District Attorney’s office, the State Police, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, state forest rangers, the state Intelligence Center and the Capital Region Crime Analysis Center.
The arrest came the night before calling hours were to take place for Bates at the Mahar and Son Funeral Home in Bennington, Vermont. A celebration of her life was scheduled as well, according to the funeral home.
For the Bates family, the tragedy is compounded, as Morgan’s mother died in January. Through the funeral home, family members declined to speak to the press, but Morgan’s father William Bates posted a series of public Facebook messages about the situation, in one saying, “Morgan you are my world,my life and my rock. You will always be my angel.”
Bates also posted, “Now my main thing is now to get justice for my daughter. I will not give up on that.” He said the suspect is his daughter’s former boyfriend.
Morgan Bates’ obituary on the funeral home website says she was born in Bennington, and graduated from Cambridge Central High School in 2019. She worked at the Stewart’s Shop in Pownal, Vermont. It says she loved horses and also worked at stables in the area.
“Morgan always had a twinkle in her eye and was known for being spunky and having a big heart,” said Secondary Principal Caroline Goss in a post on the district web site. “As an educator, every student that we work with forever leaves an impression on our hearts. I had the privilege of having Morgan as a student and being her principal. I was proud to see her walk across the stage at graduation and looked forward to seeing her pursue her dreams working with horses. Morgan left a big impact with every educator in the district and she will be greatly missed.”
The school is offering support and counseling services for students and employees to deal with the loss.
On Facebook, friends posted messages remembering how special she was, as a friend and a beautiful soul.
In a statement, Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo said the agencies worked around the clock “which led to a timely arrest.”
“Law enforcement has worked around the clock on this case since Morgan Bates disappeared,” District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly said in the statement. “This is certainly not the outcome we had hoped for. This arrest is the first step towards justice for Morgan and her family.”