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Minn. fire victim from northeast ND praised as outgoing, courageous

Shandiin Goodbird, 19, who was living in Alexandria, died in a fire Monday, Jan. 15. She is originally from Fort Totten, North Dakota, but was attending college in Alexandria for fashion design and management. (Contributed photo)

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- Outgoing, courageous, spontaneous – these were the words Shandiin Rose Goodbird’s twin sister, Nadean Goodbird, used to describe the teenager from Fort Totten in northeast North Dakota.

Shandiin Goodbird, 19, who moved to Alexandria in May 2017 from Fort Totten on the shores of Devils Lake to attend college, died in an apartment fire in Alexandria on Jan. 15.

A preliminary autopsy indicated the cause of death was smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. A final report is pending, according to a news release from the Alexandria Police Department last week.

Six other adults lived in the apartment building. Two people, Derrek Valicenti, 34, and Penny Parks, 47, suffered from burns and smoke inhalation and were flown to Regions Hospital in the Twin Cities where they were treated and released. The Red Cross was helping the four other fire victims and is helping them with long-term recovery plans, according to Carrie Carlson-Guest, regional communications officer with the Minnesota Red Cross.

According to Nadean Goodbird, Shandiin moved to Alexandria by herself – away from her hometown of Fort Totten – because she was “so motivated to do something great with her life and something she loved.”

Shandiin was attending Alexandria Technical and Community College for fashion design and management. According to her sister, Shandiin also worked at Hampton Inn in Alexandria.

“She made an impact on everyone she met,” said Nadean, who lives in New Town, N.D. “Even people who haven’t met her in real life. She loved being outdoors and making new friends. Although at times she said she felt she was invisible, I now know that was definitely not true.”

Nadean Goodbird, who gave birth to her son, Joshua Carter Lee Bryson, two days after her sister died, said Shandiin loved being different and was always changing her style, her hair and even her personality.

On her own Facebook page, Nadean Goodbird posted, “My beautiful twin sister was taken from us last night. I know she’s in a better place and at peace, but that doesn’t stop or help my heart from breaking. You were my closest friend and there’s no way I can fill this void.”

In addition her twin sister, Nadean, Shandiin also has a brother, Dylane Goodbird. The three siblings, along with their parents, Floyd Crazy Thunder and Dusti Goodbird, were members of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota.

Services were set for Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Four Winds Community School in Fort Totten and on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Johnny Bird Hall in New Town.

A GoFundMe page,, has been set up for the family to help with expenses.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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