Investigators and a grieving husband are counting on toxicology tests to solve the mysterious deaths of a man and a woman who were found dead in a southwestern Minnesota home, both with no visible wounds.
Early Monday afternoon, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a family member of Brian A. Johnson Sr. requesting that deputies check on him at his home in Hendricks, a town of roughly 700 that sits just inside the Minnesota-South Dakota border.
Deputies entered the home and found Johnson, 56, and Catherine Lindberg-Baumgartner, 58, dead in different locations, the Sheriff’s Office said. Lindberg-Baumgartner lived elsewhere in Hendricks.
The county medical examiner and an ambulance were called to the scene, and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension joined the death investigation.
The bodies were taken to the Twin Cities for autopsies. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office found that “the deceased did not appear to have any physical injuries,” a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office statement read.
Now, the Sheriff’s Office added, toxicology test results are pending in pursuit of explaining the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
Authorities have not disclosed the relationship between the two, but Lindberg-Baumgartner’s husband said she had been checking on Johnson from time to time because of his medical difficulties.
“She’s only known him for a few months,” Scott Baumgartner said Wednesday, noting that his wife had battled cancer for several years and undergone many surgeries. “She was good to him as far as being a good friend and making sure he had what he needed. She would call him. ‘How are you doing? Are you taking your medications?’ ”
Baumgartner said law enforcement told him that his wife was found dead “on a couch, in an upright position,” and Johnson was on the floor elsewhere in the house.
There were “no suicide notes, no weapons,” said Baumgartner, who splits his time between Hendricks and Fridley, where he works, while his wife spent her time fixing up the place in southwestern Minnesota for their eventual retirement. The couple has three children, one in high school and two in college.
“I haven’t even had a chance to see my wife yet,” Baumgartner said, explaining how he was driving west from the Twin Cities to Hendricks about the same time that his wife’s body was heading east to Ramsey County for the autopsy.
“It’s like the CSI movie right now,” he said. “We’re waiting for the autopsy. Nothing is looking out of the ordinary.”