Fargo police answer suicide call, find body of ex-North Dakota attorney general

  • Article by: Paul Walsh
  • Star Tribune
  • March 17, 2014 - 2:38 PM

Former North Dakota Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth was found dead in his Fargo apartment, in what authorities are treating as a possible suicide.

The discovery was made soon after police received a call from someone not in the apartment early Sunday afternoon about a suicidal male at that address, said Police Lt. Joel Vettel.

Spaeth’s body was found in the apartment, the lieutenant said, and there was no one else in the home upon the discovery.

He died “within the last day” of being discovered, Vettel added, basing the estimation on correspondence involving Spaeth that investigators have uncovered.

An autopsy was underway Monday to determine an official cause and manner of death. Vettel said he expects a preliminary finding to be revealed “in the next few days.”

In the meantime, he added, “there is no preliminary indication of foul play.”

Spaeth, a Democrat, served as attorney general from 1985 to 1992. He lost in the governor’s race in 1992 to Republican Ed Schafer. He then became legal counsel for several large companies.

Spaeth graduated from Stanford University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. He returned from Oxford and he studied law at Stanford and went on to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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