GRAND FORKS — Friends of a 64-year-old man who police say was murdered at his Fargo apartment last week said goodbye Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Duane Darling was buried Tuesday morning at Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Forks, where his dad is also buried.
Those closest to him say they are still in shock after he died following being severely beaten in his home.
"No one deserves to die like that," said Ed Obregon, who together with his wife Liz knew Darling best. The three had been friends since they were kids growing up in Grand Forks' Riverside Park neighborhood.
"He was quite the character," Liz remembers. "He always had stories to tell."
Darling got his lifelong nickname of "Beet" at a very young age.
"He had flaming red hair when he was young," Liz said.
The three became even closer after Darling's parents died when he was young. His only other relative —a brother — died several years ago.
"He would always rely on my wife Liz to give him a good ear," Ed explained.
It was especially helpful when Darling dealt with darker times in life. He had served time in prison for a number of convictions, including for drugs and domestic violence, and had battled problems with alcohol. Ed and Liz always provided a safe place for him — especially when he was homeless.
"He was a good person; he knew right from wrong," Ed said. "He never brought any of those things around our family. We didn't live that lifestyle (and) he knew that. He knew the boundaries."
The couple said Darling relied on his faith to help him get through his struggles. He attended church on a routine basis and was known to always have a bible with him.
"It helped him stay away from his demons," Liz said. "He knew all the bible verses — he would repeat them to me."
Darling moved to Fargo three years ago to find a fresh start.
"He was doing so well here in Fargo, and talking with people," Liz said. "He was always helping them; he would help the disabled and he was a friend to everybody here."
But the new start came to an end on Nov. 13. Ed and Liz were the first to get a call from the police.
"It was tough. I knew he didn't always play within the boundaries or rules," Ed said. "He was more harm to himself."
Police say Darling had been beaten to death inside his Fargo apartment by 43-year-old Darrell Clinton Peterson.
Ed and Liz Obregon said Duane had talked about Peterson before but never seemed concerned about him. They were forced to see what happened to their lifelong friend when they went to his apartment over the weekend to get an outfit for him to be laid to rest in.
"It's a scene that no one should have to go through or see," Ed said. "It's not good"
The couple says they plan to erase those sights from their memory with the lifelong list of great memories that they had with Darling.
A graveside service for Duane Darling was held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Forks on Tuesday.