WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 07, 2012, 08:52 PM

LATEST: Arrest Made in South Fargo Homicide

Fargo police have confirmed that an arrest has been made in Tuesday's south Fargo homicide.

FARGO – Fargo police have confirmed that an arrest has been made in Tuesday's south Fargo homicide.

Police plan to release more details in the next hour.

Earlier today, Fargo police here were “diligently” searching for the husband of a 52-year-old woman found dead in a south Fargo apartment Tuesday in an apparent homicide, Chief Keith Ternes said today.

“The woman appears to have died from multiple injuries that are consistent with the use of a knife or some other edged weapon,” Ternes said during an 11 a.m. news conference.

A social services worker called police at 4:48 p.m. Tuesday to the Arrowhead Estates apartment building at 2601 14th St. S. to check on the woman’s welfare. Her employer told police she hadn’t been seen since the middle of last week, Ternes said.

The victim’s husband also hasn’t been seen in several days, Ternes said. Police weren’t ready to categorize the husband as a suspect or person of interest, he said.

“We’re very interested in locating him and visiting with him,” he said.

An autopsy will be performed Thursday at the state medical examiner’s office in Bismarck, and preliminary results are expected within a day or two, Ternes said.

Police were still attempting to notify the victim’s family. The husband and wife apparently had lived in Fargo for about 18 months, Ternes said, adding it’s been a challenge to track down next-of-kin because all of them live out-of-state.

On Tuesday, the apartment manager let police into the 24-unit security building, located about a block from Kmart on South University Drive.

Police found no evidence of forced entry into the woman’s apartment, Ternes said.

“We don’t believe that this was some random act where somebody just showed up at the apartment building,” Ternes said.

Ternes wouldn’t say whether police had been called to the apartment before or why social services got involved. Other apartment tenants have provided information that police believe will be helpful, he said.

Kasara Osborne, 22, who lives in a third-floor apartment down the hall from the victim, said police knocked on her door at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“All they asked me is if I heard a tussle or an argument of any kind,” Osborne said.

Osborne said she had noticed red stains – which she now believes were blood stains – on the doorknob of the third-floor stairwell door last week, possibly Thursday, and similar stains on the building’s front door.

The stains on the front door were quickly cleaned up, she said, but the doorknob stains were still there Tuesday when police arrived.

“They had it completely paper-bagged off, and no one could go up and down the stairs,” she said.

Osborne said she didn’t know if anyone had reported the stains.

“I guess I just assumed it was paint. I didn’t want to touch it,” she said.

Osborne said she didn’t know the victim and hadn’t seen or heard anything unusual from her apartment down the hall.

Ternes said investigators were at the crime scene until after 1 a.m. Wednesday. They secured it before leaving and returned this morning.

At about 9:15 a.m., a Fargo officer sat on a chair in the hallway, guarding the door to the crime scene. A detective showed up, followed by the Red River Valley SWAT team van, to further process the scene.

The homicide is Fargo’s first of the year. The last homicide in the city occurred Sept. 11, 2011, when 28-year-old Tremaine Settles was stabbed to death during a fight at an apartment at 2608 Pacific Drive S. Prosecutors determined the stabbing was self-defense, and no charges were filed.

Fargo averages one or two homicides a year, though in some years there have been none, Ternes said.

“Violent crime like this does not happen with any frequency in our community, which obviously is a good thing,” he said. “But it certainly demonstrates that it can happen.”