Dickinson Press' Top 10: No. 5: Tragedy hits New TownNew Town, the Fort Berthold Reservation and the state of North Dakota were rocked by news that someone had shot and killed a woman and three of her grandchildren on Nov. 18.
New Town, the Fort Berthold Reservation and the state of North Dakota were rocked by news that someone had shot and killed a woman and three of her grandchildren on Nov. 18.
Martha Johnson, 64, and her grandchildren, Ben Schuster, 13, Julia Schuster, 10 and Luke Schuster, 6, were found at Johnson’s home in New Town that evening after her other grandson, Christian Schuster, 12, called 911 after he survived by playing dead, authorities have said. Ava Schuster, 8, was sledding and was not in the residence at the time of the incident.
The FBI has not released a reason for the killings. The FBI is in charge of the investigation because it involves a tribal member — Kalcie Eagle, 21, who lived about a block away from Johnson — on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, owned by the Three Affiliated Tribes.
Eagle was identified as a person of interest early on, but died of self-inflicted wounds while being questioned by authorities.
Johnson was not a member of the tribe and was active in the New Town community and her church. She had recently begun taking care of her five grandchildren, who had moved from Minto, near Warsaw, on the eastern side of the state.
Johnson was buried in New Town after services at Bethel Lutheran Church.
The children were buried in Warsaw. The incident is under investigation.
Editor’s Note: This story is the fifth in a series of The Dickinson Press’ top 10 stories of the year. Previously on the list:
6: Small western ND cities see economic, housing boom
7: Rents double, triple; housing construction industry taking off
8: Dry conditions lead to months-long burn bans, wildfires
9: Property tax bill shot down, Heitkamp beats Berg in election
10: Controversy with Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy