'The Vault' true crime stories: A week in review for Aug 21

A round-up of The Vault's true crime stories for the past week

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Here is a quick round-up of some of our top stories this week

3-year-old disappears in a matter of minutes - what happened to little Kevin Jay Ayotte?

Kevin Jay Ayotte
In this 1982 Pioneer file photo, Kevin's mother, Joann Ayotte, talks Friday, Oct. 1, 1982, with family friends outside her small log cabin home. Behind her is Terry, 9, one of her two other sons. This photo was taken on the third day of searching for missing 3-year-old Kevin Ayotte who apparently wandered off from his home Thursday evening about 20 miles northeast of Bemidji Sugar Bush Township. (Pioneer file photo)


SUGAR BUSH TOWNSHIP, Minn. — He was a face on a milk carton.

If you were a schoolchild sipping milk during the 1980s, it's likely you saw the face of 3-year-old Kevin Jay Ayotte who vanished in 1982 from his home in Sugar Bush Township.

Nearly 40 years since the disappearance of the toddler in north-central Minnesota, his case still leaves law enforcement scratching their heads.

A Moorhead doctor and a Fargo carpenter walk into a bar and walk into the 'Wagon Wrench Murder'

From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Moorhead had a reputation as a rough and rowdy town with far more bars than most cities its size. This photo was taken at a saloon about three years after the "Wagon Wrench Murder." Photo courtesy of Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County / Special to Forum Communications Co.

MOORHEAD — No doubt Moorhead was rowdy the night of Sept. 6, 1909. Just across the Red River, Fargo’s first-ever Labor Day parade had just wrapped up. Along with parade participants and viewers, there were hundreds of single, young men in town helping with the beginning of harvest.


Many of the people out and about that day, either in the parade or working the fields, spent their evening in one of the many saloons scattered throughout the city. In 1909, Moorhead’s population was about 4,000, but the city was home to a staggering 44 saloons — bolstering the city’s infamous, wild reputation.

After 45 years in prison, North Dakota man convicted in double homicide, bank robbery set for release

David Anthony Feist in custody in 1976. Contributed / North Dakota Bureau of Investigation

David Anthony Feist is the last of three assailants to be getting out of prison for the murders of Wade and Ellen Zick of Zeeland, N.D.

Feist, now 66, is set for release on Feb. 14, 2022, from a medium security federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.


Poetic Justice: Using a microphone to expose serial pedophiles

Deon Wiggett is the founder of Fairly Famous, an activist progressive agency in South Africa. With his podcast My Only Story, Deon set out to locate and reveal a serial pedophile. Contributed / Fairly Famous

This is part of a summer series of podcast interviews by James Wolner of Dakota Spotlight with national and international journalists all using the podcasting medium as a way of telling their stories and seeking justice. Listen on any podcast platform (Apple, Spotify, Stitcher etc) or below.

LISTEN to Dakota Spotlight's interview with Deon Wiggett producer, writer and host of the riveting podcast My Only Story.

Q&A with crime and courts reporter Jennifer Kraus

Jennifer Kraus header
Jennifer Kraus

Q. Describe an average day in the life of a crime reporter?

A. Each day is different as you never know when something will happen. As a crime reporter, I go through a lot of police reports, in-custody lists for several counties as well as court reports, looking up complaints and trying to stay on top of cases. We listen to the police scanner and when something happens...


What to read next
In this episode of Dakota Spotlight, retired Bismarck Police Detective Bill Connor speaks frankly about the details of the case, still sharp in his memory, and his encounters with those connected to Michelle "Shelly" Julson as he re-investigated the case from 2005 to 2010.
Under the bold headline “Murdered for Money,” a Bemidji Daily Pioneer story from June 8, 1904, broke the news that a father and daughter had gone missing from the tiny town of Quiring, Minnesota.