Three deaths on White Earth said to be daughter, grandchildren of White Earth police chief

Authorities have released the identities of three people  found dead in a rural Ogema, Minn., home on Monday, March 18. WDAY photo
Authorities have released the identities of three people found dead in a rural Ogema, Minn., home on Monday, March 18. WDAY photo

OGEMA, Minn. — Authorities are investigating the deaths of three people found in a home on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwest Minnesota.

Law enforcement first responded to a report of a “possible incident” at a home on Highway 34 in rural Ogema Monday afternoon, March 18, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The agency said no one has been apprehended and that there's no information that shows there's an ongoing threat to the public.

The three found dead were a daughter and grandchildren of White Earth Public Safety Director Michael LaRoque, according to Eugene “Umsy” Tibbetts, vice chairman of the White Earth Tribal Council. Tibbetts said the three lived on the reservation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is now investigating the deaths after getting called in by the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, according to Chief Deputy Shane Richard, who didn’t say if there was a homicide investigation.

The three bodies have been taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner for identification and autopsy.

The news of the deaths emerges after Tribal Chairman Terrence "Terry" Tibbetts, 60, died Sunday, March 17, after battling an illness.

Verna Mikkelson, who is a coordinator with the White Earth Mental Health Crisis Program, said it's a lot for the community to endure.

"We are experiencing extreme trauma and crisis so we just want to be supportive to those who are immediately impacted," she said.

The reservation and Becker County run a joint crisis hotline for adults and children that can be reached at 218-850-HELP or 1-877-380-3621.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Michael LaRoque.