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Bearson family launches foundation honoring slain NDSU freshman

FARGO--The family of slain NDSU freshman Tommy Bearson is launching a foundation in his memory and to promote youth sports and campus safety.

Thomas Bearson
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FARGO-The family of slain NDSU freshman Tommy Bearson is launching a foundation in his memory and to promote youth sports and campus safety.

It's a move his father calls "therapeutic."

"I had this epiphany about six weeks ago. I got up and knew what I wanted to do," Greg Bearson said from Sartell, Minn., where Moorhead police recently conducted interviews into the 18-year-old's unsolved homicide. "It's still heartbreaking. We never thought, a year ago, having a foundation would be something we'd want to do."

Bearson said the foundation's mission is in part a response to the outpouring of support he and his family have received from friends, family and strangers across the nation in response to Bearson's death last September.

The Sartell High School basketball standout's body was discovered in a south Moorhead RV lot three days after was reported missing after a Sept. 20 house party near NDSU.


Investigators have generally had a high level of cooperation from witnesses, said Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson. He encouraged anyone with information about the case to come forward.

Bearson said Moorhead police have provided few details about the circumstances of his son's killing, but revelations about his son's life and the impact he had on others have been much easier to come by.

"In Tom's short life, he touched so many people. We found that out since his passing," Bearson said. "People were drawn to him. Fantastic personality, sense of fun. ... Even though he was only 18, he left a legacy."

Part of that legacy may be a sense of fear that lingers among his friends, who report they're still leery of walking alone after dark.

"I don't think people really realize," said T.J. Bevins, who's only walked alone at night twice since Bearson died, and only on campus at his school, St. Cloud State. "If this wouldn't have happened, I probably would have told you campus safety was fine."

Kenzie Grabow, a freshman at NDSU and one of Bearson's former high school classmates, said she doesn't like to see contemporaries walk alone after dark, either.

"Just at night-I'm fine during [the day]," she said. As for other students, "I feel like, unless they knew him, they don't take it seriously."

Bearson said he hasn't formed a specific plan for how the foundation will work to improve campus safety, adding that it could involve working with high schools and colleges. He said he doesn't have any concerns about NDSU's current safety precautions, and that his family has a good relationship with the university.


Bearson said he and his family don't have any expectations about how long is too long as the case drags on.

"We simply want justice, whether that happens next week, or later on," he said.

"We are just an ordinary family," Bearson said. "I can tell you it's harder than you think it is. It's harder than you imagine."

Tom Bearson Foundation

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