This story has been corrected to provide the correct address for Zurn.
A level-three predatory offender will be released and is set to reside in Belle Plaine, at the end of May or by June 8. He will reside on the 200 block of South Walnut Street.
The offender, identified as Daniel Lee Zurn, 67, engaged in sexual contact with an 11-year-old female whom Zurn knew. Contact included sexual touching, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Zurn entered prison December 2014 and was released in July 2015 with a level-two risk level.
In December of 2019, Zurn was investigated, arrested and convicted for stalking. In March of 2020, Zurn was reassessed and reassigned to a level-three threat level due to the conviction.
Ordinarily, a stalking conviction would not warrant registration with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but due to Zurn’s past, the 2019 conviction played a part in Zurn’s being advanced to a level-three offender, according to Brad VanderVegt, who spoke at a remote meeting regarding Zurn’s release. The meeting, which was held last Thursday, May 14, at Belle Plaine City Hall, would have ordinarily been open to the public, but COVID-19 closed off that possibility.
Zurn will now be under correctional supervision until July 13, 2025. Zurn’s supervision will require GPS supervision for the first 30-60 days of his release. Among other measures that will be in place 24/7, Zurn’s electronic devices will be monitored for the duration of his supervised period.
Zurn will be the subject of registry for the duration of his life. Under the registry, authorities will be aware of multiple aspects of his life, VanderVegt said.
“Law enforcement will always know where Mr. Zurn lives, what he drives, where he works, where he goes to school, etc.,” VanderVegt said.
Zurn will be allowed to enter the community with strict guidelines, including a curfew and daily briefing to authorities regarding his schedule. He is not allowed to be in contact with minors.
The public can contact Zurn’s intensive supervised release agent Dave Barlage at 507-327-9274, the Department of Corrections’ voicemail service at 507-344-5288, or the Belle Plaine Police at 952-873-4307, regarding questions surrounding Zurn’s release. Those witnessing suspicious behavior from Zurn or anyone else are asked to call 911.
“One of the things I want to put across to the community is you’re going to see that Mr. Zurn will be out in the community,” Barlage said. “Agents are aware of his whereabouts and what he’s doing. That is an approved weekly schedule.”
"We want to work with you. If you see something suspicious, we really strongly encourage you to give us a call,” Barlage added.
To conclude Thursday’s briefing, VanderVegt outlined data pointing to the fact that the vast majority of offenders target those they know. VanderVegt noted that 90% of offenders who are caught and brought into the court system do not reoffend, 90% of offenders are known to victims, and 90% of offenders were not previously convicted.
“That’s why we want you to be aware of everybody who's driving past the route your kid takes to school, everybody who comes through that playground, everybody who frequents places where children are known to congregate,” VanderVegt said.
VanderVegt also stated that perpetrators’ social proximity to victims is a more predictive factor than geographic proximity.
A fact sheet released by the Belle Plaine Police Department noted that authorities do not aim to cause alarm by informing the public about Zurn's release.
"This notification is not intended to increase fear in the community," the fact sheet states. "Law enforcement believes that an informed public is a safer public."
The full briefing, which outlines further resources for individuals and families, can be found at https://youtu.be/-cnsR2eMWXA.
Zurn's original release date was June 8, but COVID-19 may cause that release to come at the end of May. Those who see Zurn before June 8 should note that authorities are aware of his release.