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Manhunt for Jantzen intensifies

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Daniel Lee Jantzen moved into a mobile home park to keep tabs on his ex-girlfriend just weeks before she and three others were shot there Tuesday, neighbors and family said Wednesday.

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Daniel Lee Jantzen moved into a mobile home park to keep tabs on his ex-girlfriend just weeks before she and three others were shot there Tuesday, neighbors and family said Wednesday.

"It kind of seemed like a keep-an-eye-on-you thing," said Amanda Hoaby, who lives near where Jantzen was staying.

Authorities continued the manhunt for Jantzen, known as "Scrubby," the former bar owner and gun collector charged Wednesday with the murder of 21-year-old Michael Barnett Jr. of Valley City.

Sharon Hatcher, 42, and her daughter, April Hatcher, 16, also were killed in the shooting Tuesday night at their mobile home in Viking Drive Estates.

Barnett, April Hatcher's boyfriend, died overnight at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo.


"He made some declarations before his death," said Barnes County State's Attorney Robin Huseby.

Barnett's mother died in a domestic violence incident in August 2000 when she was run over by her live-in boyfriend near Oriska.

A fourth shooting victim, Paul Bucholtz, 41, of Oriska, remained hospitalized at MeritCare Wednesday. His condition was not released.

Huseby said although there's no reason to believe anyone but Jantzen was involved in the shooting, she's waiting for forensic results and more information before charging Jantzen with the murders of Sharon and April Hatcher.

Drugs were a factor in the crime, Huseby said.

"I think when all the facts are brought out at a trial, the theme of drugs may be somewhat prevalent in some of the lives of the people involved," she said.

Kyle Pope was preparing supper for his two children Tuesday when he heard the gunshots one house away. He looked out the window and saw a man running, then heard squealing tires.

"I heard three shots, then I heard the peeling out, then I heard another one (gunshot)," he said.


A wounded Bucholtz, who police said was presumably driving toward the hospital, made it as far as downtown before his car veered off the road and hit a pole.

April Hatcher's heart had stopped by the time an ambulance arrived at her home, but first responders managed to start it, family members said. She was taken to Mercy Hospital but declared dead on arrival.

Autopsies were being conducted Wednesday, Valley City Police Chief Dean Ross said.

More than 30 police officers from various local, state and federal agencies joined the hunt for Jantzen.

Ross said the search focused on the Lake Ashtabula area north of Valley City. Jantzen has a cabin on the north end of the lake but hadn't been seen there since last weekend.

Authorities were asking for the public's help in finding Jantzen's 1994 blue and silver Chevrolet S-10 pickup with license number EHX-802.

Rain, wind and overcast skies kept two airplanes and a helicopter from participating in the search.

Ross said he wants people in the Lake Ashtabula area to be observant, "because he (Jantzen) knows that country and he's so familiar with that he could be up there anywhere."


Officers have been warned to use extreme caution when approaching Jantzen, he said.

"There's no way we're going to just walk up to this individual," Ross said.

Anyone with information on Jantzen's whereabouts was asked to call the Barnes County Sheriff's Office at (701) 845-3110.

Gun collector

Tuesday night, authorities seized 81 firearms from a storage area above Gilligan's, the downtown bar Jantzen operated as the Paddock Lounge for several years.

Clif Wasfaret, the editor of the Valley City Times Record and owner of the CD Guns shop, said a jumpy, hyperactive Jantzen came to him a few weeks ago hoping to sell about 15 assault rifles, a mixture of AK-47s and SKSs.

Wasfaret said he declined to buy the rifles because he specializes in vintage firearms.

He said Jantzen had sold 350 weapons to a Fargo hardware store the year before. He had also visited Jantzen's gun vault, estimating there were 50 to 60 guns in the room, including pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles.

"We're pretty much in shock," said Wasfaret, who left retirement in Twin Valley, Minn., to take on the job at the Times Record eight months ago. "This is a small town. This is not what happens in Valley City."

Strained relationship

Police declined to speculate on a motive for the shooting, but neighbors and family members said Jantzen had become increasingly hostile and possessive toward Sharon Hatcher in recent months.

"He made the comment about her that if he wasn't going to be able to have her, nobody was," Hoaby said, a statement repeated by Hatcher's family.

Jantzen moved from his apartment into the brown and tan mobile home near Hoaby's about three weeks ago, she said.

Valley City Police Detective Mark McDonald, who searched the mobile home and yard Wednesday morning, said it was his understanding the home was Jantzen's temporary residence.

The residence is about

50 yards from the Hatchers' home, across a grass lot littered with beer bottles, cans and paper.

Hoaby said one recent night when she had to take her sick child to the emergency room, Jantzen was outside his residence, stumbling and making loud noises.

"He scared the living daylights out of me," she said. "When I came back that night, he was screaming at her."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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