Mystery and speculation surround the sad discovery of four bodies in rural North Dakota. Police describe the disturbing scene as a “murder-suicide.”
The bodies were discovered on Aug. 29 in a wheat field on a farm near Cando, North Dakota. The call to police noted that the four bodies were “unresponsive” and that there was a .357 revolver near one of the bodies.
Towner County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) deputies responded to the call and found four men with fatal gunshot wounds.
According to the Daily Wire, Sheriff Andrew Hillier reported: “Evidence from the scene indicates that this incident was a murder-suicide and there is no known threat to the public.”
TCSO released the names of the deceased on Wednesday. Three were related: Justin Bracken, 34; Richard Bracken, 64; and Robert Bracken, 59. The men were helping to harvest the wheat.
The fourth man was Douglas Dulmage, 56, of the nearby town of Leeds. Dulmage’s friend Pat Traynor told ABC affiliate WDAY that Dulmage was the owner of the property where the men were found and that Dulmage’s body was found in a combine harvester.
“He was a pillar of the community; it’s a total devastating loss,” Traynor said. “He epitomized what it was like to be in the country, in terms of friendliness, kindness, empathy, people helping each other.”
WDAY reported that Dulmage was married, had two daughters and served as a volunteer firefighter and North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB) member.
“It is hard to understand why something like this would happen in a rural farming community,” NDFB President Daryl Lies said in a statement to media. “When evil presents itself, it can be devastating, but we must remember there is more good than evil in our world. Doug’s dedication to agriculture and love for his family will forever be remembered.”
Police have not provided details as to who fired the weapon.
Local authorities noted that “more information will be released once the forensic medical examinations are completed.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
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