NEW TOWN, N.D. – The FBI has taken over the investigation of four deaths in New Town, a Mountrail County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said this morning.
Meanwhile, the Minot Daily News reports that a fifth person died Sunday evening in Parshall, a town less than 20 miles east of New Town, and investigators are working to determine if the death is connected to the deaths of a woman and three children Sunday afternoon in New Town.
The Sheriff’s Office has yet to issue a press release for either incident.
Sheriff Ken Halvorson told the Minot Daily News the New Town deaths occurred at a residence and were reported about 3 p.m. Sunday. A grandmother, two boys and a girl are the victims, Halvorson told the newspaper.
The victim of the Parshall incident, which occurred about 8:30 p.m., is an adult male, Halvorson told the newspaper.
The deaths of the woman and children were “very terrifying” and sad, not only for the family but the whole community, said the Rev. Grant Patterson, pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in New Town. He knows the victims, he said.
Marc Bluestone, superintendent of the public school in New Town, said he decided to call off classes for today because of “the tragedy in our community.”
Although he has not been told anything by the sheriff, from what he’s heard from neighbors and friends, the child victims were students in the school.
“In the best interests of our community and school, with the limited information we have, my decision is to call off school for (today),” he said.
Check back for more on this story.