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Search takes to the skies

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Authorities extended their manhunt to the skies and, hopefully, cable television Thursday as Daniel Lee Jantzen, wanted in the murder of three people Tuesday night, continued to elude capture.

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Authorities extended their manhunt to the skies and, hopefully, cable television Thursday as Daniel Lee Jantzen, wanted in the murder of three people Tuesday night, continued to elude capture.

Clear skies allowed an Army National Guard helicopter and a local airplane to help ground units search north of town around 2 p.m. Thursday. Another plane was dispatched from the state's Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Bismarck.

Killed Tuesday at Viking Drive Estates mobile home park were 42-year-old Sharon Hatcher, her 16-year-old daughter April and Michael Barnett Jr., 21. Paul Buchholz 41 was wounded and remains in a Fargo hospital. Wind, rain and snow kept air support out of the search Wednesday in the Lake Ashtabula area, where Jantzen owns a lake cabin.

The 56-year-old Valley City native knows the hilly land well and has friends there who might help him hide, Police Chief Dean Ross said.

The absence of any sightings or tips through two days of heavy searching has officials expanding their search.

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"If he was in the county, I thought we would have found him by now," Ross said. "He's got a lot of contacts in Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. He could be out of the area and he could easily have gone who knows where."

Thinking Jantzen might be in another state by now, Ross called "America's Most Wanted" to see if the Fox Network show might help find him. Ross e-mailed the show Jantzen's photo and a description of his pickup.

"They seem very receptive," Ross said.

As the search continued, a clearer picture of Jantzen and the events surrounding Tuesday's shooting also began to emerge.

Methamphetamine was found at Hatcher's home at 1135 Viking Drive, Ross said.

He wouldn't say how much, but did say there was no meth lab and no list of names.

Jantzen, charged Wednesday with Barnett's murder, will soon be charged with two more murders and one count of attempted murder, Ross said.

Buchholz, the lone surviving victim, is in MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, where his condition has not been released.

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Officials will file the charges Monday when Barnes County State's Attorney Robin Husby returns from an out-of-town school workshop, Ross said.

As for the motive, it appears to be jealousy toward Sharon Hatcher, who Jantzen had dated for years, Ross said.

Nobody the police have interviewed, whether it be a close friend or an acquaintance, has said he or she would have expected such violence from Jantzen, Ross said. That's why officials believe meth might have triggered the rage.

"There might be some usage on his part, and that may have flipped him over the edge, along with an extreme jealousy," Ross said.

Autopsies on the three victims were completed Thursday but Ross would not release details.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538

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