Anita Knutson Wiki – Anita Knutson Biography
Anita Knutson was a student at Minot State University when she was stabbed to death. Nichole Rice is a North Dakota woman arrested in the cold case of the murder of her roommate in 2007.
Rice, then Nichole Thomas, was 19 years old. Rice, now a 34-year-old married mother who works as a civilian employee at Minot Air Force Base, was arrested on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, the Minot Police Department announced.
Age of Anita Knutson
Anita Knutson has died at the age of 18-years-old.
“After nearly 15 years of investigating and following up on leads, the suspect is in custody,” Minot Police Chief John Klug told a news conference. “Around 3:25 p.m. Nichole Rice, 34, was arrested for murder and booked into our county jail. Although most of the detectives who worked on the original scene and investigation have retired, we have not forgotten about this case. … My heart goes out to the family. I wish we could have resolved this sooner, but at the same time I’m happy to say that we have the person responsible for Anita Knutson’s murder in custody.”
Nichole Rice Married & Children
Nichole Rice, born Nichole Erin Thomas, has been married since December 2021 and has a teenage daughter, her Instagram shows. It was her second marriage. She has also gone through Nichole Bakken. According to her now-deleted Facebook page of hers, she was born in Velva, North Dakota, and lived in Minot. She wrote on Facebook that she is “Mother of 1 child… Married my best friend. dog mom. cat mom. The ringleader of my own circus.
Klug told reporters that Rice was at Minot Air Face Base working as a civilian when she was arrested without incident. Klug did not go into detail about what job Rice had at the Air Force base and the Air Force has not commented on her employment status.
Rice, who also goes by Nikki Rice, studied cosmetology and has also worked as a hairstylist, according to her now-deleted Facebook page of hers. Rice’s Facebook shows that she also spent time working at a car dealership. A page related to that work was also removed.
Rice’s social media also showed that she was an avid bow hunter. Her page showed her dead deer and other animals that she had killed. On Ella Knot’s wedding website, she wrote that she met her husband at a sporting goods store where he worked. “They do almost everything together because they have so much in common. They are usually fishing or hunting during their free time. It’s always a friendly competition,” the page says. She added that she and her husband “recently bought 6 acres of land and are planning for the future with (her daughter). So many exciting things to come! They decided not to go on their honeymoon to put money into the new place! It has been a long-time dream of both of us to have a land of our own!”
A lot of Tension Between Anita & Nichole, Investigators Say
According to the probable cause affidavit written by Minot Detective Mikali Talbott, Nichole Thomas Rice was one of four people who had keys to the apartment where she and Knutson lived. The owner of the apartment and an apartment maintenance worker also had keys, according to police. Rice was not in the apartment when she found Knutson, who was stabbed twice and bled to death, according to the affidavit.
The full probable cause affidavit can be read here.
Talbott wrote that Knutson had been texting a friend on Sunday, June 3, 2007. She last responded to a text message at 4:48 a.m. m. and her phone records showed that she texted him at 4:53 a.m. Knutson. She didn’t text or make any phone calls after the 4:48 a.m. text. m. June 3, police said. According to police, Knutson’s purse, laptop, phone, digital camera, and other valuables were left in her bedroom, “suggesting theft was not a motive.”
The affidavit added: “The only window in Antia’s room, which was located directly at the foot of her bed, was wide open with a screen missing. A knife with dried blood was found on the bed, near the wall, and with the window open. Police said “nothing moved” under the window, and “it doesn’t look like anyone came through the window.”
According to the affidavit, “several people indicated that there was a lot of tension between Anita and Nichole. Anita had a reputation for being kind, friendly, and personable. Nichole’s reputation is that she was temperamental and reactionary. A friend overheard Nichole tell Anita, before her murder, ‘One way or another, I’m going to get you (Anita) out of this house.’”
Talbott said in the affidavit that police received “numerous tips” about the Knutson murder over the years, including “information about the party Nichole attended.” Talbott wrote: “Police had been told that Nichole had admitted to the murder, but the person or persons who heard this admission were unknown to police.” Police have since identified the person as a man Rice dated in 2008 or 2009.
During a party with her friends, Knutson’s murder came up, the informant said. Rice was “intoxicatedly belligerent,” and the man she dated told police she told him she “did it.” The man told police he tried to get her to admit him back when she was sober, but she “got mad at him.” According to the affidavit:
Nichole told police that she was at her family’s farm by Velva when Anita was murdered. Statements received from Nichole were inconsistent and contradicted each other. Statements by members of her family were also inconsistent.
Nichole stated she and Anita were best friends and she has never complained about Anita to anyone. This was contradicted by a number of people who indicated that Nichole did not like Anita.
A witness told police in September 2008 that, after Knutson’s murder, Rice referred to her as a “f***** b****” and a “little f****** c***”. According to the affidavit, the witness also said that Rice had said that she was at her parents’ farm all weekend, but that the witness had seen her at a bar in Ruso on June 2, 2007, until the early hours of the 3 of June. The affidavit stated:
Nichole told witness 1 that after she left the club in Ruso, she had to Minot to her apartment to get some clothes that night. Witness 1 said that Nichole had changed her story multiple times.
Nichole and Kevin Thomas, Nichole’s father, previously told officers that Nichole was at her parents’ house from approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 until the morning of June 4, 2007. Those statements have changed several times and contradict each other. Witness 1 said that Nichole told her details about the scene that would not have been known to Nichole or anyone outside of the investigation team.
According to the affidavit, “Police re-interviewed several people, including the defendant, in 2022.”
Klug said he couldn’t go into “the details of everything that was included in the affidavit for this arrest. Much of it is not new information, a few details have emerged. Over time, things start to unfold. Ultimately, he’s looking back on at least dozens, probably more than 100 statements that were taken.”
Klug told reporters: “There really hasn’t been a lot of changes from the original investigation. We have tried to keep this investigation alive over the years.” He said: “I think the turning point, in this case, was just trying to put all that information together and put it in an order that makes sense. Much of the information is information that we have. It just took a bit of refocusing and a lot of attention to fine detail. It was being able to sit down and spend some time, our officers on that, and let them do their job.”
Cause of Death
Knutson was found dead in her off-campus apartment in Minot on June 4, 2007, after her father called for a welfare check, according to police. She told police that she hadn’t heard from her daughter in days, which was unusual, police said. Knutson’s bedroom window screen had been cut and she was found face down on her bed with multiple stab wounds. Her body was covered in a gown, police said. She found a bloody knife in a bathroom and did not appear to have stolen anything, according to police.
Knutson was a “beautiful, charismatic and cheerful” elementary school student from Butte, North Dakota, her family told The Daily Beast in January 2022. Her sister, Anna Knutson, told the news site, “I was enjoying from school” and always “had a lot of friends around him.” His family has not commented since Rice’s arrest.