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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 10, 2013, 04:49 PM

60 on 6 tells the story of a child abduction and murder back in 1985

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Tonight, as we celebrate 60 years here at WDAY, another chance to look back at stories that made headlines over the years.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Tonight, as we celebrate 60 years here at WDAY, another chance to look back at stories that made headlines over the years.

On 60 on 6, Kevin Wallevand brings us back to Otter Tail County, where a child abduction and murder back in 1985 rocked the heart of the county.

It sparked a search and tested the faith of the Underwood, Minnesota community.

A story of lost innocence.

She was the most innocent looking 13-year old who loved T-shirts with teddy bears. But Sarah Rairdon kept and held on to a hurtful secret.

When she went missing May 20th of 1985, the town of Underwood, Minnesota went into overdrive. Sarah's family joined the surrounding communities in printing, folding distributing missing posters around the region.

Bricker Johnson- 1985 Underwood MN: "Sarah had gone missing as she walked home from school that day. Everyone believing she had been picked up by a stranger and abducted. In an interview I did with her father, an eerie foreshadow of what was to come."

Her body would be found by a Rothsay farmer. Decomposed.

John Rairdon- Sarah's Father, May 1985: "Takes your breath away, I don't know how to describe it, there is no way to describe it."

Takes that day, Sarah's father would take his family fishing, but not before he said this to me:

John: "I just hope they are caught and brought to justice."

Actually, he would pay. Days later Rairdon confessed to killing Sarah. After years of sexually abusing her, she refused, telling him she wanted to be normal. That day as she walked home from school. He picked her up, she again refused, and he flipped out, smashing her throat and stabbing her with a screwdriver.

Marilyn Rairdon- John's wife: "John must have two sides to him. He was a loving and caring father."

Would later admit to knowing of the abuse.

Marilyn: "I never dreamed it would be him."

The case would be prosecuted by Mike Kirk, then Otter Tail County attorney, later a district judge and now an appeals court judge in Minnesota. This is John Rairdon today. Still in Prison, for life, in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota. He is 67.

Parole has been denied. On a national cable show, Rairdon once said he doesn't think of his daughter much. Sad. Because those who looked tirelessly for her that summer and still grieve her loss think of her a lot.

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