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Published March 29, 2011, 01:40 PM

ND slaying investigation spreads into Minnesota

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. (AP) — The investigation into the slaying of a North Dakota State University researcher has spread to Minnesota. Griggs County Sheriff Bob Hook says authorities believe the suspect in the case was in the Crosby, Minn., area, after the killing.

Griggs County Sheriff Bob Hook says authorities believe the suspect in the case was in the Crosby, Minn., area, after the killing. Authorities are asking anyone who sees black or dark metallic gray plastic trash bags between Cooperstown and Crosby to contact them.

NDSU researcher Kurt Johnson was last seen leaving a Cooperstown bar on New Year's Eve. Authorities say his severed head was found in the Cooperstown home of Daniel Wacht, but the rest of his body has not been found.

Wacht is being held without bail on a murder charge.

ACCORDING TO THE PRESS RELEASE: Griggs County Sheriff Bob Hook is again asking for the public’s help in the investigation of the New Year’s Eve murder case in Cooperstown, ND. As reported, the investigation has spread to the Crow Wing County, Minnesota area.

Through our investigation process, we have determined that Wacht was likely in the Crosby, MN area on January 4, 2011 driving his 1995 red GMC Safari van. We believe Wacht traveled south and east cross country to Crosby, MN from Cooperstown, ND on state highways or secondary county roads and returning to Cooperstown, ND by way of MN Highway #10 possibly through Detroit Lakes, Lake Park & Hawley MN, into the Fargo / Moorhead area and back to Cooperstown. Wacht had been to Crosby, MN before on a previous social visit in late 2010 and was somewhat familiar with the area and terrain.

It is believed by investigators this could have been a way to hide or dispose of Johnson’s remains in an effort to conceal the crime.

The Griggs County Sheriff’s Office is asking everyone to keep their eyes open for any black or dark metallic gray plastic trash bags that may be lying about or partially covered with snow along roadways around Cooperstown, ND and in the area of interest between Cooperstown, ND and Crosby, MN.

Murder victim Kurt Johnson was last seen wearing a bright blue puffy down-type of jacket, blue jeans and western boots.

We need the public’s assistance in finding Johnson’s body in an effort close the search and bring peace of mind to the family and investigators as to whereabouts of Johnson’s body.

If anyone sees anything or feels they have information about the case, please contact the Griggs County Sheriff at 701-797-2202 or their local law enforcement agency.

Wacht’s next scheduled Griggs County Court appearance in Cooperstown, ND will be May 27th 2011 @ 10:00AM for a Preliminary Hearing.

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