A family camping trip to Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks led to the grisly discovery of two fingers on a picnic table, according to the East Grand Forks police. The remains were confirmed as human by the Cass County medical examiner’s office in Fargo. Further tests to obtain fingerprints from the remains are ongoing at the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s lab in Bemidji.

“They were full fingers,” said East Grand Forks Police Lt. Rodney Hajicek. “I don’t think we’ve ever found body parts in the campground.”

He said officers ran a cadaver-sniffing dog through the campground, but the animal didn’t signal the presence of a body. A family found the fingers on May 26 while setting up their campsite, police said. Tests to identify the remains as human were completed last week.

The recreation area straddles the Red River between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

Matt McKinney


Wolf center welcomes Arctic pups from Canada

Two Arctic wolf pups are settling into their new home at the International Wolf Center in Ely. Named Grayback and Axel, the 5-week-old male pups arrived on an airplane May 25 from a Canadian breeding facility.

Axel, named for Axel Heiberg Island, Canada’s second northernmost island, is curious and active, according to the center’s website. Grayback, named for the dark color on his back, seems more intimidated by noise and fast movements.

The pups are being socialized with humans so that they remain relatively relaxed and display natural behaviors on exhibit, the center said on its Facebook page. Now gray, the pups start to turn white at 4 to 6 weeks old. They live in the facility’s wolf care center and will be introduced to a wolf pack in the center’s main exhibit area in August.

“Resident wolves that feel comfortable and relaxed enough to interact in front of the public make the best teachers and thus support our efforts to teach the world about wolves,” staff members wrote on the center’s Facebook page.

The center’s last pair of Arctic wolves, Shadow and Malik, died in 2014.

Pam Louwagie

St. Peter

Noses beware: College’s corpse flower in bloom

A corpse flower bloomed at Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday for just the fourth time in nine years. Named for the sickening smell its flower produces when blooming, the plant uses the powerful odor to attract pollinators in its native Sumatra, Indonesia, said Gustavus chemistry Prof. Brian O’Brien.

“Some people say they don’t think it’s as stinky as last time,” O’Brien said.

The flower, named Perry for the mythological titan Hyperion, arrived in St. Peter as a seed in 1993. Its bloom in 2007 drew 7,000 people.

By Friday afternoon, some 300 visitors had stopped by the biology department’s greenhouse to see — and take a whiff of — Perry. For a glimpse, go to gustavus.edu/perry.

Matt McKinney