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Father, son found dead in Richfield motel room

  • Article by: Jim Adams
  • Star Tribune
  • February 14, 2007 - 10:30 PM

Richfield police aren't sure exactly how a father and his 7-year-old son died Wednesday in a motel along Interstate Hwy. 494, but they believe it was a murder-suicide.

There were no obvious injuries on either body, no weapons or illegal drugs were found, and there were no signs of suffocation or gunshots. There also was no suicide note.

Police did, however, find legal, over-the-counter or prescription drugs that could kill if taken in large quantities, said Richfield Police Chief Dan Scott.

The 47-year-old father apparently had kidnapped his son in another state. Law enforcement authorities called Richfield police about noon Wednesday requesting that they check up on the pair at the AmericInn, at 1200 E. 78th St.

After breaking down the motel room door, police found the father and son lying near each other, dead on the floor.

It's a tragic and bizarre case, Scott said, adding, "We have to go and pick up the pieces and figure out how this puzzle goes together."

The two aren't from Minnesota, and Scott wouldn't release their names or hometown until relatives are notified. He would say only that they are from a Midwest rural community whose sheriff called for assistance. He said that the father didn't have custody of his son, and that he apparently picked him up after school Monday.

The boy's family called local police. A call was made from the AmericInn to someone who alerted the Sheriff's Office in the pair's hometown, Scott said.

Scott wouldn't say exactly why police believe the deaths are a murder-suicide other than to say it is unlikely to find two people dead of natural causes at the same time in the same place. He wouldn't say what drug or drugs were found, saying only that it wasn't aspirin. Police have impounded a vehicle driven by the father.

The investigation is just beginning, and police are awaiting results from autopsies to be done by the Hennepin County medical examiner's office, Scott said.

Newspaper files show the last homicide in Richfield happened in March 2002, when Anne N. Gunther, 30, was knifed to death by her ex-boyfriend, who was later convicted of the crime.

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658 • jadams@startribune.com

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