Vietnam Vet Kills Wife: Burns Down House

Paragraph 8 reads:  "Other neighbors have similar stories about Torgeson, the Vietnam veteran they say was depressed and on medication ."

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Columbia Heights Man Stabs Wife, Burns Home, Calls 911
Arthur Torgeson stabs wife, sets fire to Columbia Heights home
Last Edited: Friday, 18 Jul 2008, 4:53 PM CDT
Created: Friday, 18 Jul 2008, 10:20 AM CDT
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COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. — A Columbia Heights man called 911 Friday morning to report he stabbed his wife and set fire to their Columbia Heights home.

Arthur Torgeson called 911 at 9:18 a.m. to report the stabbing and fire, admitting to dispatchers it was he who killed his wife.

Charred human remains were found inside the burning home when Columbia Heights police and firefighters responded to the scene, at 43rd and Arthur St. NE.

Police said Torgeson, 64, had burns on his chest, arms and back. Friday afternoon he was in police custody at an area hospital.

NEIGHBORHOOD REACTION

Stephanie Johnston grew up across the street from Arthur Torgeson, and she says he’s always acted unstable.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Johnston said. “It’s tragic, but I’m not surprised. He's been kicked out of my mom's house several times for acting odd — always drunk.”

Other neighbors have similar stories about Torgeson, the Vietnam veteran they say was depressed and on medication.

A woman identifying herself as Torgeson’s ex-wife, divorced 25 years ago, said he left a troubling voicemail on her answering machine Friday morning, saying there wasn’t anything worth living for.

When she couldn’t get a hold of him, she came by the house to check and saw the crime tape.

Another neighbor says Torgeson used to talk about how much he loved his wife, and several other say they never saw tension between the two. Stephanie Johnston disagrees.

"She was a nice lady, really nice,” Johnston said. “He was another story."

FAMILIAR ADDRESS TO POLICE

Police say they have a history of calls to the address, but declined to give more information, saying those details will surface as the investigation presses on.