NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) - A southern Minnesota man accused of killing his girlfriend, dismembering her body and trying to burn her remains has been charged with first-degree murder.

A grand jury issued the murder indictment for 26-year-old Miguel Vasquez of Springfield. The charge filed in Brown County District Court carries an automatic life sentence.

Vasquez is accused of killing his 23-year-old girlfriend, Amber Lechuga, in September in the apartment they shared with their two children.

Authorities say he dismembered her body before trying to burn her remains in their van.

An autopsy found Lechuga had two gunshot wounds to her head, fired at close range. Police recovered her head in the nearby Cottonwood River and her limbs in the van.

Reports say Vasquez's public defender, Scott Cutcher, says he'll challenge the indictment because it wasn't returned in a timely manner.