Cold Cases

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation works with law enforcement agencies across the state on unsolved missing person and homicide cases. These cases are referred to the Cold Case unit by the law enforcement agency.


  • These cold cases are active investigations, and therefore we are not able to release records or provide additional information.


If you have information about a listed cold case, please contact the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 701-328-5500 or the local law enforcement agency at the number listed.


Larry Phebus – Homicide

On March 27, 1963, the body of Larry Phebus, age 14, was found two and one-half miles south of Alexander, North Dakota.  Phebus disappeared and was presumed to have been murdered on or about October 20, 1962. Autopsy results indicated that Phebus died as a result of asphyxiation.


  • Contact the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department at 701-444-3654.


Lora Jean Dugan – Homicide


On April 30, 1972, the body of 14 year old Lora Jean Dugan was found approximately three miles southwest of Medora, North Dakota, in a hilly and wooded area approximately one mile south of Interstate 94. Dugan was the victim of a homicide sometime between April 7 and April 21, 1972. She died of strangulation.


  • Contact the Billings County Sheriff’s Department at 701-623-4323.


Daniel Erick Johnson – Homicide


On June 27, 1974, the body of Daniel Erick Johnson was discovered approximately seven miles north of the Minot Air Force Base and approximately 300 feet east of Highway 83 near the north entrance to Glenburn. Johnson had been shot three times.


  • Contact the Renville County Sheriff’s Department at 701-756-6386.


William Wolf, Jr. – Homicide


On August 20, 1978, the body of William Wolf Jr. was discovered in the Red River approximately three miles north of Kragnes, Minnesota. Wolf’s body had been cut in half and placed in garbage bags. Wolf had been reported missing during the week of August 13, 1978.


  • Contact the Fargo Police Department at 701-235-4493.


Barbara Louise Cotton – Missing Person


During the evening of April 11, 1981, 15 year old Barbara Louise Cotton disappeared in Williston, North Dakota.


  • Contact the Williston Police Department at 701-577-1212.


Clifton Wendell Marsh – Homicide


October 1, 1981, the body of 69 year old Clifton Wendell Marsh was discovered in a rest area located along Highway 2 approximately 7 miles east of Devils Lake, North Dakota. The investigation disclosed that Marsh had been shot. Marsh left his home in Hope, Michigan, on September 29, 1981 on his way to British Columbia, Canada, for a fishing trip.


  • Contact the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department at 701-662-0708.


Joseph Anderson – Homicide


On September 16, 1991, the decomposing body of Joseph Anderson was found in the trunk of his 1979 Buick Riviera, which was parked on the north side of the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, North Dakota. Anderson’s body was clad only in a pair of white Jockey underwear and was covered with a green sheet.


  • Contact the Jamestown Police Department at 701-252-2414.


Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson – Missing Persons


On August 26, 1993, 30 year old Kristin Joy Diede was reported missing. Diede was in the company of her boyfriend, 32 year old, Robert Michael Anderson. Diede and Anderson had taken Diede’s two children to visit relatives in Wishek, ND. Diede and Anderson were last seen on August 15, 1993, in Wishek. On August 20, 1993, a Dodge van thought to have been driven by Diede and Anderson was found abandoned in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It is believed Diede and Anderson were homicide victims.


  • Contact the Logan County Sheriff’s Department at 701-754-2495.


Ronald S. Johnson – Homicide


November 6, 1994, the body of Ronald S. Johnson was found frozen in a water-filled ditch approximately five miles northwest of Dunseith, ND. Autopsy results indicate that Johnson possibly had died as a result of hypothermia, however, information was received that Johnson had been assaulted before being placed in the ditch.


  • Contact the Rolette County Sheriff’s Department at 701-477-5623.


Talmadge Patton – Missing Person


Seventy-five year old Talmadge Patton was last seen on August 15, 1995, in Alexander, ND. Patton had planned to travel to Georgia. However, his packed suitcase and a map depicting the travel route he planned to take were found inside his home along with other personal items and medication. Patton’s vehicle, a brown 1/2 ton 2-wheel drive Dodge pickup with a white topper, North Dakota license 8755A, was missing.


  • Contact the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department at 701-444-3654.


Sandra M. Jacobson – Missing Person


On November 16, 1996 at approximately 8:00 pm, Sandra M. Jacobson and her five year old son, John H. Jacobson, left a relative’s home in Bismarck, ND, to get gas for her vehicle. They were never seen again. The next day Sandra’s 1990 gray Honda Civic was located at Centennial Beach in Bismarck.


  • Contact the Bismarck Police Department at 701-223-1212.


Russell Douglas Turcotte – Homicide


On November 5, 2002, the decomposed body of 20 year old Russell Turcotte of Wolf Point, Montana was discovered in a tree row located ten  miles west of Devils Lake, ND and ½ mile north of US Highway #2.  Turcotte was last seen at the Simonson’s Gas Station in Grand Forks, ND on July 12, 2002, where he was waiting for a money order to travel home to Montana. He never picked up the money order.


  • Contact the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department 701-662-0700.


Anita M. Knutson –  Homicide


On June 4, 2007, the body of 18 year old Anita Mae Knutson was found in her apartment in the 2400 block of 4th Street NW in Minot, ND. Anita had been killed while lying in her bed; she died as a result of knife wounds to her upper body. Unknown suspect(s) appeared to have entered the apartment through a ground floor window and exited by the same route. The murder weapon was found at the scene.


  • Contact the Minot Police Department at 701-852-0111.



The above case index includes all cases referred to the Cold Case Unit. If a missing person or homicide case does not appear, please contact the originating local law enforcement agency.



About the Cold Case Unit


Local law enforcement agencies often continue to investigate cases long after the case appears to have gone “cold,” using every resource available. If an agency has exhausted its resources, it may consider submitting a case for review by the state’s Cold Case Unit. The Unit considers a submitted case against a list of criteria, including whether there is new evidence, existing evidence was subjected to the most advanced forensic technology available; suspects were previously identified but at the time there was not enough evidence to justify filing charges; or new information is now available. If the review determines that a case may be advanced through reinvestigation the case may be transferred to the Cold Case Unit, which works closely with the referring local law enforcement agency.

Office of Attorney General
General Inquiries
(701) 328-2210


(701) 328-3404
1-800-472-2600 within ND only

Tip Line

1-800-472-2185 within ND only

Concealed Weapon
Licensing Unit

(701) 328-5523

National Human Trafficking
Resource Center