Thursday, August 17, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: August 17

August 17, 1904 – The body of Miss Aagot Dahl, who disappeared with her father last April from her homestead near Quiring post office, was found on this date.


Lying in a pile of brush, with the rank, tall grass growing around and concealing it from view, the badly decomposed corpse of the murdered girl was discovered this afternoon by Thomas Dooher, a neighbor, who was working on the edge of his field about a mile and a half from the dead woman’s claim.

The grass and weeds concealed the body so well that Dooher struck one of the shoes with his scythe, and investigating, was horrified at the shocking spectacle.

He immediately set out for Tenstrike, the nearest railroad station, and notified the authorities there.


The discovery of the girl’s body disposes of an abduction/hostage theory, but adds to the mystery and brings the case within the pale of those crimes that excite and interest humanity because of their strangeness and horror.

Miss Dahl and her father, N. O. Dahl, are believed to have been murdered April 7, 1904, the day they disappeared. A constant search was made for both of the Dahls’ bodies after their disappearance. Rewards had been offered by the state and county, and also by relatives of the missing parties. 

The body of Mr. Dahl was discovered under the roots of a balsam tree near his house on July 26, 1904, by Eugene Colwell and Owen French, two homesteaders who lived a short distance from the Dahl homestead.

Colwell and French claimed they had gone out searching for a cow that had strayed away from Colwell’s home and in passing a tree became aware of a smell of putrid flesh. They immediately became suspicious and commenced a search around the area where the stench seemed to come from, and found a human body buried under roots of a balsam tree that had blown down during a storm.

Even after the discovery of Miss Dahl, no definite clues were available that would lead to the identity of the murderers, but it is said that several parties were under suspicion. Both decedents, Mr. and Miss Dahl, were found with gunshot holes in their skulls.

The Minneapolis Journal; “Miss Dahl’s Body Found in a Field. Corpse of Murdered Girl Stumbled Upon by a Homesteader While at Work.”; August 18, 1904; p. 2.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “wen French and Eugene Colwell Discovered the Body Yesterday Afternoon.”; July 27, 1904; p. 4.




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