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Sid Walker, Dru Sjodin's stepfather, succumbs to cancer

Died Sunday at age 74 following colorectal cancer.

GRAND FORKS - Sidney "Sid" Walker, a quiet and gentle man who threw himself into the search for stepdaughter Dru Sjodin and later the effort to bring her killer to justice, died Sunday. He was 74 and had suffered from colorectal cancer.

"He fought the battle for a long time," Linda Walker, Dru Sjodin's mother, said of her husband.

"He knew about the cancer when Dru was abducted," she said, "but he didn't want to tell me."

Dru Sjodin was a 22-year-old UND student from Pequot Lakes, Minn., when she disappeared from a parking lot at Columbia Mall in Grand Forks on Nov. 22, 2003. Her body was found in a ravine near Crookston the following spring.

In 2006, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., a recently released high-risk sex offender, was convicted in U.S. District Court in Fargo of abducting, raping and killing Sjodin.

He was sentenced to die and is on death row at an Indiana prison, pending appeals.

Sid Walker, who with Linda raised Dru from the age of 6, often joined his wife and Allan Sjodin, Dru's father, at news conferences and court proceedings, and he testified about the loss of Dru at Rodriguez's pre-sentence hearing.

He said he would miss her phone calls.

"She said, 'Hi, Sidney,' and my whole day was brightened," he said. "I loved to hear her voice."

Sid Walker had been receiving chemo treatment for seven years. "His doctors said he was one of maybe two or three people in the world who could live that long" with the nature of the disease he battled, Linda Walker said.

His funeral will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at CrosslakeLutheran Church in Crosslake, Minn. Visitation is today from 5 to 7 p.m. at Brenny's Funeral Chapel, Crosslake.