A Minnesota man has been charged with fatally shooting a woman in a resort cabin last week after allegedly mistaking her for his ex-girlfriend.
Cameron Moser, 29, was booked into the Crow Wing County jail on Friday on a charge of second-degree intentional murder stemming from the killing of 46-year-old Bethany Bernatsky at the Cozy Bay Resort on Lake Edward.
Moser is being held on $1million bond pending his next court appearance on October 20.
Sheriff Scott Goddard said investigators are trying to determine whether the killing was a case of mistaken identity, in which Moser intended to kill his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend, who is the daughter of the resort’s former owner.
Cameron Moser, 29 (left), has been charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Bethany Bernatsky, 46 (right) in Minnesota last week
Bernatksy was found in a pool of blood after being shot multiple times in a cabin at Cozy Bay Resort on October 7
Investigators suspect that Moser shot Bernatsky after mistaking her for his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend, the daughter of the resort’s former owner
Bret Jevning, who previously operated the Cozy Bay Resort, told Minneapolis Star Tribune that the week before the killing, Moser came by the RV park that Jevning owns across the street and was looking for his daughter.
According to Jevning, Moser was angry that his daughter had overcome her drug addiction after entering rehab, and ‘he was taunting her by using [drugs] himself,’ Jevning told the paper.
Photos of Jevning’s daughter and Bernatsky available on social media reveal that despite their 20-year age difference, the two women shared similar features, including long blonde hair, similar height and build.
According to a probable cause affidavit, just after 11pm on October 7, Crow Wing County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Cozy Bay Resort after receiving a 911 call about a shooting.
Bernatsky, a former dressage horse trainer, was shot multiple times, including in the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene
In recent years, she had relocated to Vermont to run a paving company with her boyfriend
The person who made the initial call said they were staying in a cabin at the resort when gunfire erupted next door, prompting them to flee.
Less than 20 minutes later, responding deputies spotted the gunman, later identified as Moser, carrying a AR-15-style rifle and a silver handgun across the street from the resort, at the Mollie Lake RV park.
A 90-minute standoff between the suspect and the officers ensued, during which Moser was described as holding both firearms in his hands while talking to law enforcement.
After Moser was finally taken into custody at around midnight, SWAT team members went to check the resort and discovered Bernatsky lying face down in a large pool of blood at the end of a hallway in one of the cabins.
According to the affidavit, Investigator Phil Stanley, who found the victim’s body, ‘observed a large amount of apparent blood, tissue and bone matter surrounding the victim.’
The 46-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. She was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office, where she was identified through a tattoo on her body that was known to be there by a family member.
An autopsy determined that Bernatsky died after being shot multiple times, including once in the head.
Shell casings collected at the scene were found to be of the same caliber and brand of ammunition as in Moser’s rifle, according to the affidavit.
About two weeks ago, Bernatsky checked into the Cozy Bay Resort with the intention of spending the winter there
Bernatsky grew up in the Brainerd, Minnesota, area and was described by her brother as being a high-level dressage horse trainer and teacher until about 10 years ago.
In recent years, she had relocated to Vermont to run a paving company with her boyfriend.
About two weeks ago, she checked into the Cozy Bay Resort with the intention of spending the winter there.
Family and friends have been posting tributes to Bernatsky and sharing their memories on Facebook.
‘Bethany Bernatsky was loved by so many!!’ wrote Michelle Berntasky, the victim’s sister-in-law. ‘She was a friend, sister, mother, aunt, daughter, trainer, mentor, a gypsy at heart, a horse whisperer, an incredibly fun and insightful friend!! We’re devastated.’