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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 01, 2010, 03:49 PM

Authorities baffled by the brutal murder of an elderly rural Mahnomen couple

Mahnomen, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The brutal murder of an elderly rural Mahnomen couple is baffling authorities across a three county area. The victims are 72-year old Francis Lundon and 71-year old Ethyl Lundon. Police are not identifying the suspect but say he'll be arraigned on homicide charges Monday.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The murders happened at 2525 230th Avenue overnight. That's near the intersection of County Roads 3 and 11. The Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department received a call from Morrison County authorities.

A man there, told them a friend, just said he killed two people. A short time later, authorities pulled over the suspect in Benton County. He was driving a stolen pickup registered to the couple. Authorities then went to this scene and found the couple dead from gunshot wounds.

“It appears to be random, we don't know. It appears that way and I don't know if the suspect knows the people or not.”

Authorities aren't saying how many times the victims were shot, what type of gun was used, or the evidence that has been Authorities still aren't releasing the suspect's name that is in custody in the Benton County Jail. Through our investigation, we have learned more about the man.

Authorities on the local, county, and state level are still here looking for any trace of evidence or motive behind these killings. They are combing fields and looking through the house, a house where the suspect lived less than a mile from.

“It's a tragic thing this should happen so close to us.”

Cletus Geray lives just up the hill from the murder the scene. He had grown to know Francis and Ethyl Lundon through the years. A couple he calls nice and quiet.

“It's really quite sad that we had to lose them that way, he both of them.”

But it's what Geray says he saw in recent days suddenly shedding light on the shooting case. This breaking, hours after the bodies of the deceased were taken to Grand Forks for autopsies.

I’ve seen that bike go by here the last couple days. You know that guy riding the bike.”

Authorities did find a bike left behind, believed to belong to the suspect in custody. Officials confirm the man, in his 40s, lived nearby.

“We're searching for the answers wondering why this happened.”

It's here where the suspect spent the past 3 and a half years, the Center of Human Environment. It is a boarding lodge for chronic alcoholics and the homeless.

“He's a model resident. He was a resident we'd trust with anything.”

The facility doesn't allow sex offenders, violent people, or firearms. In fact, Executive Director Darby Miller says there have been no problems with the suspect.

“He would have been probably one of the last people I would have thought would have done something like this.”

For neighbors, they are grieving that someone living so close to them is accused of such a heinous crime.

“They sure didn't harm nobody or deserve to go out that way.”

Authorities are not looking for other suspects. I just talked with Sheriff Doug Krier who still won't release the suspect’s name. In fact, he hasn't even talked with him yet. The B-C-A, family, and the suspect's friends declined our requests for interviews.

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