Original article no longer available
Feb 25, 2005
BISMARCK — Family members of a slain southwestern North Dakota couple are still offering a $5,000 reward in the case, saying they have doubts the deaths were a result of a murder-suicide.
Adams County Sheriff Eugene Molbert said he and state Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents gave their report to the children of Norman and Yvonne Olson family on Wednesday night, nearly four months after the couple’s bodies were found in an abandoned house.
Authorities believe Norman Olson, 73, killed his 69-year-old wife, Yvonne, and then killed himself shortly after they disappeared from their Hettinger home last Aug. 14. Norman Olson had been treated for depression and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, his son said.
“Yvonne died of a gunshot wound that’s been ruled a homicide. Norman died of a gunshot wound that has been ruled a suicide,” Molbert said Thursday.
“We still don’t believe he could have done it,” Blake Olson said of his father. “Maybe something with his disease may have contributed, but we can’t totally accept it.”
Olson said two BCI agents traveled to Arizona on Wednesday to meet with him and his brother, Mark.
He said the family received an investigators report saying that his father, a Korean War veteran and retired house painter, had killed his wife of 49 years, then turned the gun on himself.
Molbert said he also spoke with the couple’s daughter, Jackie Olson Muggerud, of Hettinger.
“We appreciate them coming down and meeting with us,” Blake Olson said. “There are still some questions yet. The reward we have posted is still available.”
The Olson children have been critical of the investigation, saying authorities seemed unwilling to consider the possibility that their parents might have been killed by someone else.
Blake Olson said his father’s wedding ring and wallet are missing, and perhaps some cash from the couple’s safe.
“That will always leave a doubt in our minds,” Blake Olson said. “Those questions may never be answered.”
Molbert agreed. “Some questions are never going to be answered,” he said.
Molbert said authorities had been waiting for lab tests of fingerprints and DNA evidence in the Olsons’ car, which was found about a mile from the abandoned house where the couple’s bodies were discovered.
“The lab results showed no one else was in the car and that all DNA was related to the family,” the sheriff said.
Molbert said authorities believe Norman Olson killed his wife, then moved the car to a building a mile away and walked back, climbed up on the roof of the abandoned house and killed himself in the attic. His body was found Nov. 23.
Yvonne Olson’s body was found in the same building Nov. 5. Molbert said bullets recovered from her chest and from Norman Olson’s body came from the same .22 magnum gun, found on his body.
“The bullets were consistent with those that were unfired in the gun and with (unfired) bullets found in the couple’s bedroom,” Molbert said.
Blake Olson said authorities have promised to investigate the crime scene at least once more.
Liz Brocker, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said the case has not been closed.
“It’s considered active until the final report is part of the file,” Brocker said. She did not know when that would be.
“I’m still going to look around in some places,” Molbert said. “Even though a case is closed doesn’t mean it’s done. If something comes up, it will be investigated.”
Original article no longer available
Hettinger Man Talked of Suicide — (KXMC News)
March 19, 2005
(AP) – Police records say a Hettinger man found shot to death with his wife talked about suicide before the couple vanished.
A report on the deaths of Norman and Yvonne Olson also says their family hired a psychic to help solve disappearance of the retired couple from southwestern North Dakota.
The Olsons were found shot to death in an abandoned house outside of Hettinger late last year, about three months after they vanished. Authorities have ruled the deaths were a murder-suicide.
A state Bureau of Criminal Investigation report says that about three weeks before the couple was discovered missing, Norman Olson told an acquaintance he’d thought about shooting himself.
Investigators say both Olsons died of gunshot wounds. A .22-caliber pistol missing from their home was found with Norman Olson’s body.
Seventy-three-year-old Norman Olson had been diagnosed with depression and Alzheimer’s disease early in 2004. The reports says the 69-year-old Yvonne Olson had said she was worried about Norman Olson’s behavior.