Authorities investigate suspicious death on Spirit Lake Reservation

FORT TOTTEN, N.D.--Details have been slow to emerge as authorities investigate a suspicious death reported Wednesday night on the Spirit Lake Nation reservation.

FORT TOTTEN, N.D.-Details have been slow to emerge as authorities investigate a suspicious death reported Wednesday night on the Spirit Lake Nation reservation.

Kyle Loven, an FBI media coordinator in Minneapolis, said the FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Spirit Lake tribal authorities are investigating the death, but the case has yet to be classified as a homicide or accident.

Loven said the identity of the deceased was not being made public as of Thursday evening.

On Wednesday night, Forum News Service reported the belongings of a young woman had been discovered on the reservation. Loven would not comment on the gender of the deceased Thursday morning.

BIA spokesperson Nedra Darling said the BIA is the lead agency in the investigation but said she could not provide further information Thursday evening.


Two deputies from the Grand Forks Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation Wednesday night through their Unmanned Aircraft Systems unit, according to Lt. B.J. Maxson.

"They flew the unit over the scene, took some photos and handed them off to the lead agency," Maxson said.

Maxson said the two people with the UAS unit returned to Grand Forks on Wednesday night after assisting in the investigation.

Spirit Lake Nation has experienced multiple homicides in recent years. Lance Alan Robertson, a 27-year-old member of the Spirit Lake Nation, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder in the death of Larse Azure Jr., 18, of Fort Totten. Robertson ran Azure over in his Dodge Durango in December 2015.

In 2013, Valentino Bagola was found guilty in the murders of his cousins, Destiny Jane Shaw DuBois, 9, and her 6-year-old brother, Travis Lee DuBois Jr.

Another Spirit Lake Nation man, Dallas Wayne Thundershield, was charged in April with murder and assault with intent to commit murder in the stabbing of two men. Police say he killed 52-year-old Richard Dean DeMarce Sr. by hitting him with a truck and stabbing him in the heart. He was accused of assaulting Elvis DeMarce, 43, by stabbing him six times. Thundershield's trial was delayed and is scheduled to begin in federal court October 18.

Related Topics: CRIME
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