WILLMAR -- Russ and Lidia Newville still search for closure more than a decade later since their son, Daniel Newville, went missing in August of 2002.
“This is not the end of the story. There is more to it than someone just disappearing and being gone,” Lidia said during a recent interview with the Tribune at the Newvilles’ Willmar home.
Daniel was last seen leaving a party in New London during the early morning hours of Aug. 1, 2002, when he was 18 years old. He would be 30 years old today.
Authorities say they have followed up on hundreds of leads, conducted land and air searches and used lie detector tests to interview those who knew Daniel. Kandiyohi County sheriff’s deputies have even searched the area with a psychic, yet Daniel’s disappearance still remains a mystery. (See a related story here about local law enforcement procedure in missing persons cases.)
A number of rumors have circulated over the years regarding Daniel’s disappearance. Russ and Lidia do not know what happened to their son, but they speculate he was the victim of foul play.
“We don’t want to believe it, but there is no other explanation. Somewhere there is more to it. There has to be a reason people are talking and I just don’t understand,” Lidia said.
Russ and Lidia Newville expressed dissatisfaction with law enforcement’s response to their son’s disappearance, saying the investigation has been too little, too late.
The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the case at the end of September 2002.
Russ Newville said he reported his son missing just days after Daniel disappeared at the beginning of August. According to Tribune archives, Sheriff Dan Hartog stated that an official report was made Sept. 24, 2002, when the investigation then started.
Today, Russ and Lidia mostly remain focused on the hope of finding Daniel. (See a list here of three other 'missing persons' cases in west central Minnesota.)
Kent Bauman, a detective with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, has been working on Daniel’s case since he went missing. He said the Sheriff’s Office still regularly follows up on leads regarding the case.
“Fairly regularly, people call and want to report information and we discern if it’s new. A lot of the leads are heard in passing and not direct information, but people do the right thing and call in,” Bauman said.
All the while, Daniel is never far from the minds of his family and friends.
“He was a dang good kid that didn’t deserve what he got,” Russ said.
Russ recalled memories shared with Daniel.
“Danny and I won the Northern tournament in New London the year before he disappeared,” Russ said. “I used to go out on the lake every day almost. Since Danny disappeared, I’ve maybe fished a half hour. He was always my fishing partner and buddy.”
Russ and Lidia remain on a mission to spread awareness regarding their son’s disappearance. They have searched endlessly for Daniel, created posters, wrote to news stations and organized events. The family is currently working out details to a host a Cinco de Mayo dinner this May to benefit their search efforts.
Even if they do not find out what happened to him, the Newvilles said they would, at the least, like to give their son a proper burial.
“It’s just hard and sometimes it’s harder, but you have to get up, carry on, see what you can do and have faith something is going to break,” Russ said. “You can’t give up and quit. That’s not an option.”
Those with information regarding Daniel Newville’s disappearance can contact the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office at 320-214-6700.