Police: Suspect in North Dakota murders tried to dupe video
|Toronto Star 05 Apr 2019 at 14:34|
MANDAN, N.D. - A North Dakota man charged Friday in an attack that left four dead at a business that manages the mobile home park where he lives took steps to avoid detection by snatching up shell casings, changing his clothing, and bleaching a knife and gun, according to court documents
Court documents allege that after shooting and stabbing the victims, Chad Isaak, 44, stole one of the company’s vehicles, drove about 1,000 feet (305 metres), then ditched the vehicle and set out on foot to his own truck, parked less than a mile (1.6 kilometres) away at a McDonald’s. Authorities were able to trace his steps with help from surveillance video at businesses along the route, the documents say.
Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler announces an arrest in a quadruple homicide at a press conference Thursday night, April 4, 2019, in Mandan, N.D. In back are Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten, left, and Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling. Police in North Dakota say they ve arrested a 44-year-old man in the slayings of four people earlier this week at a business in Mandan. Ziegler says surveillance video identified a vehicle of interest and helped lead them to the suspect, who lived in the small town of Washburn about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Mandan. (The Bismarck Tribune via AP / Tom Stromme)
This undated photo provided by the North Dakota Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program shows Chad Isaak. On Friday April 5, 2019, Issak, a chiropractor suspected of killing four people at a property management business in North Dakota is due in court. Isaak is jailed after his arrest Thursday on suspicion of killing the business owner and three employees in Mandan. (AP / North Dakota Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program)
The affidavit and complaint filed Friday offer the most details yet on a mystery that has gripped the area since authorities found the bodies of four people at RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan, a town near the state capital of Bismarck. But the documents do not reveal a motive for the slayings.
Isaak, a chiropractor and U.S. Navy veteran, faces four counts of murder and other charges in the attack. The victims were RJR co-owner Robert Fakler, 52; employee Adam Fuehrer, 42; and married co-workers Lois Cobb, 45, and William Cobb, 50.
The police affidavit portrays a grisly crime scene in which the Cobbs and Fuehrer were shot and stabbed several times. Fakler had multiple lacerations and stab wounds, and first responders tried in vain to resuscitate him. Fuehrer and the Cobbs were all dead when officers arrived; Lois Cobb’s death was attributed to a cut of her neck, though she also had been shot, according to the affidavit.
Surveillance video shows the assailant entering RJR. wearing brightly colored clothing, then leaving in dark clothing less than 15 minutes later, the documents say. An employee at the McDonald’s told police that she saw a man wearing camouflage ski mask, dark pants and dark shoes get into a white Ford F-150 that morning.
Police later linked the vehicle to Isaak, who lives in Washburn, about 35 miles north (56 kilometres) of Mandan. At his home, they found clothing matching what they had seen on the videos, spent shell casings, and a knife and gun smelling of bleach, court documents say.
The owner of the mobile home park, Rolf Eggers, said he never met Isaak and never heard of any problems with him. Eggers, a Bismarck resident who spends his winters in Florida, said he talked to Fakler several times a week and Isaak never came up.
“He was a non-issue,” Eggers said. “He never attracted any attention.”
Isaak was due in Morton County Court Friday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations. Felony murder carries a maximum punishment of life in prison without parole. North Dakota does not have the death penalty.
Records show Isaak has a chiropractic business. A 1995 marriage announcement said Isaak was an assistant lab technician in the U.S. Navy serving at Pearl Harbor. Isaak received his chiropractic license in 2006, records show.
Until Isaak’s arrest, police had released little information about their investigation. Homicides are unusual in Mandan, a town of about 22,000 just across the Missouri River from the state capital of Bismarck that hadn’t had a slaying since 2016 — and had only three in the past six years.
“It’s been a difficult week for everyone involved,” Mayor Tim Helbling said.
A memorial service for the victims is planned for Tuesday at Bismarck Community Church, according to Eastgate Funeral and Cremation Service.