No answers, caution advised one week after discovery of slain student’s body
MOORHEAD - Police are backing away from earlier assertions the public is not in danger following last Tuesday's discovery of the body of homicide victim Thomas Bearson.
MOORHEAD – Police are backing away from earlier assertions the public is not in danger following last Tuesday’s discovery of the body of homicide victim Thomas Bearson.
“We don’t have answers,” said Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson, pointing out police are still struggling to identify a killer and a motive.
Jacobson was responding to questions about whether the public is at risk from whoever killed the 18-year-old NDSU student, who was missing for four days before he was discovered at a Moorhead RV lot.
Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes told The Forum the day Bearson’s body was discovered that there was no indication the public was at risk.
A week later, Jacobson urged the public to be cautious, saying, “From the moment it was a Moorhead case and a death investigation, I’ve never spoken on that.”
Jacobson reminded the public to exercise common-sense caution in enjoying city nightlife, such as checking in with a friend or loved one and making sure to be accompanied if over-consuming alcohol.
Jacobson also reminded residents that Moorhead is in general a community that enjoys a low crime rate.
He said investigators are following up on a number of tips from the public, including information Bearson could have been attacked as some sort of gang initiation ritual.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “I would imagine if you’re hearing it, our investigators are. … It’s something we’d have to continue to explore.”
Jacobson said investigators are casting a wide net to follow up on as many leads as possible.
He declined to go into details about the condition Bearson’s body was in when it was found and how investigators believe he was killed, saying results from the state crime lab are not in.
“If there’s information we’re withholding, it’s not at the expense of public safety,” Jacobson said.
Investigators do not think Bearson’s death is connected to that of Henry Volochenko, 87, whose body was discovered in his Main Avenue home here last June.
That homicide, which police said was caused by assault-related injuries, remains unresolved.