UPDATE: Murder charge filed in death of NDSU researcher; victim's head found in suspect's basementCOOPERSTOWN, N.D. – A felony murder charge has been filed against Daniel Evan Wacht in connection with the death of Kurt Douglas Johnson.
COOPERSTOWN, N.D. – A felony murder charge has been filed against Daniel Evan Wacht in connection with the death of Kurt Douglas Johnson.
Griggs County authorities, who announced the charge at a press conference today, said the head of Johnson was found in the basement of Wacht's home.
Johnson was killed with a bullet to the center of his forehead, authorities said.
The body of Johnson, a researcher at North Dakota State University who lived in Cooperstown, has not yet been found, authorities said.
Sheriff Robert Hook and Assistant State's Attorney Marina Spahr said they don't believe Wacht and Johnson knew each other previously.
Johnson went missing New Year’s Eve and was last seen leaving a Cooperstown bar. Witnesses said they saw Johnson leave in a van driven by Wacht.
Johnson was reported missing on Tuesday.
Wacht, 30, was arrested earlier this week on a California warrant for a felony probation violation. He is being held in the Stutsman County Jail in Jamestown.
Authorities said Wacht has a criminal record, but they didn't disclose why he was on probation. Wacht has lived in Cooperstown for four months.
The murder charge is a Class AA felony.
Authorities declined to comment on a search for Johnson's body.
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