The Vault

Join us as we delve into the news vault for a fresh look at the cold cases, crime & mysteries of our communities. Brought to you by Forum Communications Company.

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Latest Episodes
This month marks the 50th anniversary of one of Minnesota's most notorious and unsolved crimes
Tue Jul 05 13:30:00 EDT 2022
The kidnapping of Virginia Piper is considered one of the most successful kidnappings in U.S. history. Now 50 years after the Twin Cities socialite was grabbed from her garden, Forum Communications takes a fresh look at the case with updated reports and new podcasts and videos, plus exclusive interviews with those involved.

Episode 1: Police file reveals flawed investigation into North Dakota mother and son missing persons case
Wed Jun 29 18:01:51 EDT 2022
The police file from this 1996 case, recently obtained by Forum News Service, reveals what Bismarck Police Department found when it reinvestigated the case of Sandra and John Jacobson: an initial missing persons investigation that left key questions unanswered, vital evidence unaccounted for and potential suspects cut loose.

Reporter Trisha Taurinskas unpacks the North Dakota mystery in this multiple-part series. 

Read more here:

These 1930s Midwest bank robbers had a distinctive calling card: cream cans filled with water
Wed Jun 22 17:24:09 EDT 2022
During the early morning hours of March 29, 1938, a gang of robbers stole over $2,000 from the Miltona State Bank in Miltona, Minnesota.

That's almost $40,000 by today's standards.

It was a late winter morning when a cashier's son was returning a borrowed typewriter to the Miltona State Bank and discovered a tampered vault door and an empty safe. Cans of cream, filled with water next to the safe, told the tale. The "Cream Can Gang" had struck again.

✍️: Thalen Zimmerman 🗣️: Kris Kerzman

Buried alive: Unanswered questions linger in 2012 death of North Dakota man
Fri Jun 17 09:09:07 EDT 2022
The disappearance of Eric plagued Dickinson for three years. What began as a missing persons investigation, soured by allegations of police indifference and ineptitude levied by Eric’s mother Maryellen Suchan, evolved slowly from hopes of a triumphant return to considerations of declaring her missing son dead. The case began turning cold, with sparse information and only a handful of leads to guide investigators.

Three years would pass with little to no progress.

In May of 2015, after hiring a private investigator, Eric’s body would be discovered less than 10 feet from where police had previously searched. Unearthed at the construction site where he was last seen alive, the missing person case was resolved — but in the resolution, more questions would be raised as to how Eric was buried alive.

The 2001 disappearance of South Dakota's Pamela Dunn, Part 2
Fri Jun 03 19:28:18 EDT 2022
As investigators dug deeper into the disappearance of Pamela Dunn, the evidence of foul play began to pile up.

While ex-boyfriend Dave Asmussen had already provided investigators with inconsistent stories related to the vehicles he had driven the day of — and day after — Dunn’s disappearance, they knew the deeper they dug, the more they’d discover.

And, they were right.

Who killed a Michigan angler 'from the dark shadows' at a North Dakota rest stop in 1981?
Wed Jun 01 12:52:19 EDT 2022
Robert Marsh says when his father was murdered in 1981, a responding officer told him that 90% of cases similar to that of his father’s are solved. To date, the identity of Clifton Wendell Marsh’s killer remains a mystery.

The 2001 disappearance of South Dakota's Pamela Dunn, Part 1
Thu May 26 15:26:17 EDT 2022
When a person goes missing, law enforcement is often stuck in a problematic position. Without a body, it can be difficult to prove a crime existed. That means justice, however obvious it may seem, is often not achieved.

For the 2001 missing persons case of Pamela Dunn, that’s not exactly the story.

While Dunn has not been located, her ex-boyfriend, Dave Asmussen, is serving a life sentence for a 2006 conviction related to her kidnapping. That sentencing came on the heels of a stalking conviction, which landed him in prison in 2004 for 40 months.

While it’s not the slam dunk investigators are content with, it’s the successful execution of a strategy intended to keep their main suspect behind bars while continuing to collect evidence related to the disappearance of Dunn.

This is part 1 of a two-part series related to the disappearance of Pamela Dunn. 


This North Dakota lawman collared 'Gun-toting Tex' after a 2-year manhunt for the small-town cop-killer
Thu Apr 28 09:30:00 EDT 2022
When a gunman killed a police officer in Hope, North Dakota, in 1933, the county sheriff wasn't about to take it lying down. He persisted to track the suspect for two years over seven states and thousands of miles -- one of the most highly publicized manhunts in U.S. history.

Young Minnesota sheriff's deputy, killed by cross-border spree killer in 1978, to be memorialized
Tue Apr 05 16:08:49 EDT 2022
In August 1978, Deputy Richard Magnuson had been at the Roseau (Minnesota) County Sheriff’s Office for about 2 ½ months. On Aug. 2, 1978, his life was cut short at the age of 20 when he was the final victim of a series of killings by Gregory McMaster.
Roommate arrested in 2007 killing of Minot State University student
Thu Mar 17 16:31:54 EDT 2022
Nichole Rice is in custody at the Ward County Jail after police said they believed she killed Anita Knutson in 2007.