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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Cause of fatal fire undetermined

From the Forum News Service

North Dakota

Police investigate death of man found in bar

FARGO – Police here are investigating the death of a 21-year-old Fargo man after he was discovered unresponsive in the downstairs bathroom of a local bar.

Lt. Joel Vettel said at 11:19 p.m. on July 23, police responded to a medical call in the downstairs bathroom of the Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse at 1201 Westrac Drive in Fargo.

Josh Nelson, 21, of Fargo, was taken by ambulance to a Fargo hospital, where he later died.

Vettel said Nelson’s body had been sent to Bismarck for autopsy by the state medical examiner.

He said the case was being investigated as an unattended death but offered no other details.

Motorcyclist killed in crash

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- A Jamestown man was killed in a motorcycle crash Sunday evening east of the city, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The crash happened at about 7:04 p.m. Sunday on Stutsman County Road 40 about 3 miles east of Jamestown.

The patrol said Albert Buchanan, 47, Jamestown, was driving a 2009 Harley-Davidson west from to Jamestown from Spiritwood when he failed to negotiate a curve to the south and went into the west ditch.

Buchanan was taken to Jamestown Regional Medical Center, where he died. He was not wearing a helmet and the patrol said alcohol was believed to be involved in the crash.


Reward offered in case of missing Texas boy

FARGO – An El Paso, Texas, woman is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to finding her 16-year-old son, who was last seen walking down Broadway a month ago.

Edward Stubbs is a thin, 5-foot-10 inch boy with blond hair who came to North Dakota by bus for a summer job in the construction industry. He was staying at his cousin’s south Fargo apartment and was last seen at his job in Dickinson June 17 before stopping by the apartment three days later.

“We’re desperate to get answers,” said his mother, Jolene Stubbs.

Since her son’s story ran last week in The Forum, Stubbs said she has taken about 10 or 12 phone calls from people who believed they’d seen him in Fargo, including at the West Acres Shopping Center and at a bank. However, reviews of surveillance video showed it wasn’t Edward Stubbs.

If you have information about where Stubbs is, call Jolene Stubbs at (801) 231-3121 or the Red River Dispatch Center at (701) 451-7660.



DNR cuts number of wolf licenses

DULUTH -- With Minnesota’s estimated wolf population down about 25 percent from recent years, state Department of Natural Resources officials will allow fewer wolf hunting and trapping licenses this fall, the agency announced Monday.

The DNR has set the statewide target harvest of wolves at 220, down from last year’s target of 400. The season will open Nov. 9, opening day of Minnesota’s firearms deer season.

This fall’s target harvest is down from last year’s actual harvest of 413 wolves in the state’s first regulated wolf season and the first sanctioned taking of wolves since the 1960s.

The wolf season news comes after a DNR announcement earlier this month that about 2,211 wolves are roaming Minnesota’s northern forest. That estimate, based on a winter-long survey, is down about 700 animals from the most recent previous survey in 2008.

Although nearly 25 percent lower than the 2008 midpoint estimate of 2,921 wolves, the population still exceeds the state's minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is above the federal recovery goal of 1,251 to 1,400 animals.


Driver pleads guilty in triple-fatality crash

WILLMAR, Minn. — The drunken driver of a car involved in a crash that killed three people in west-central Minnesota pleaded guilty Monday to three felony charges.

Paul Anthony Wickenhauser, 22, of Cokato, entered the guilty pleas to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.  There was one count for each of the three victims, Marta Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman’s 8-year-old daughter Julia, killed in the Aug. 17, 2012, crash east of Willmar in Kandiyohi County.

As part of the plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, 12 additional felony charges, and one misdemeanor for open bottle, will be dismissed.

“I’d like to apologize to the family,” Wickenhauser said, his voice wavering with emotion. “I hope that someday you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.”

Wickenhauser said he had five to six beers after work at his place of employment in Cokato before the accident.


Man pleads guilty in baby death

ADA, Minn. – A 25-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to murdering his girlfriend’s baby girl last fall in this Red River Valley town.

Raul Perez of Dilworth admitted in Norman County District Court Monday that while taking care of 22-month-old Ariel Reyes on Aug. 29, he became angry when the child wouldn’t stop crying and threw her into her crib, said Norman County Attorney James Brue.

“His exact words were ‘I snapped,’” Brue said.

An autopsy found that the toddler died of neck and head injuries, according to court documents. Perez was watching the baby girl while her mother went to the grocery store.

Ariel Reyes died two days later at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, where doctors noticed her chin, jaw, thigh, tailbone, forehead and armpits were all visibly bruised, according to court records.

Brue said he will be seeking a sentence of 20 years on the second-degree murder conviction, more than the state guideline – which is between about 11 and 15 years for an offender with Perez’s lack of a criminal history.


Man killed when truck hits motorcycle

EVELETH, Minn. -- A 55-year-old Eveleth man died Sunday in a motorcycle-truck collision on U.S. Highway 53 near Eveleth.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that James Davey was riding a 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle northbound on Highway 53 just before 3 p.m. when it struck an eastbound 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was crossing the highway.

The motorcycle struck the front of the truck. Davey was transported to St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth before he died of his injures, the patrol reported; he was not wearing a helmet.

The driver of the truck, Jesse Hiti, 20, of Eveleth, was not injured.

Neither driver had alcohol in their system, the Patrol reported.


I-94 median project to begin near Fergus Falls

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - Motorists on Interstate 94 near here will experience intermittent lane and shoulder closures when a cable median barrier installation project begins Aug. 5, weather permitting.

Crews will install the cable barrier along 10 miles of I-94 from approximately the north junction of Highway 59 to the south Junction of Highway 59.

Work is expected to last one month.


Cause of fatal fire undetermined

HAWLEY, Minn. – Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office were still on scene Monday afternoon trying to determine the cause of a fatal house fire here early Sunday morning.

Authorities on Monday identified the 15-year-old girl who died in the fire at 702 6th St. S. as Rylie Efterfield of Hawley.

Efterfield was one of four family members who were home about 1:40 a.m. Sunday, said Lt. Stephen Landsem of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.

The other three family members, her mother and her two younger brothers, escaped the fire, which Landsem said gutted the three-story building.

Investigators will likely not determine a cause for another day or two, Landsem said Monday.


Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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