North Dakota cops probing a mysterious quadruple homicide at a property management company say the person responsible is still at large — but that’s about the only bit of information authorities are disclosing.
Officials remain tight-lipped about a description of the suspect, a potential motive for the killings and any details about the woman and three men found dead inside the Bismarck business.
Chief Jason Ziegler said Monday there is no danger to the public based on evidence recovered at the crime scene, but he didn’t elaborate on what that evidence is or why cops believe the danger has subsided.
Authorities still don’t have a motive in the killings, but there is at least one thing officials are sure of.
“These four people didn’t do it themselves,” Ziegler said at news conference.
The bodies were discovered around 7:30 a.m. Monday by officers responding to a medical call at RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan. Ziegler described the crime scene as “rare,” but did not elaborate on exactly what that meant.
“It’s quite a large crime scene, so it’s not something that’s going to be easy for us to get in and do quickly,” Ziegler said of the pace of the investigation.
Officers spent Monday combing through the building, which includes an office area in the front and a large warehouse area in the back, and planned to be there “as long as it takes us to get everything that we need,” Ziegler said.
Gina Kessel, 52, of Mandan, showed up at the business Monday to pick up her son, Mitchell Kessel, an employee there. She told the Associated Press that Mitchell “called me, said something is going on,” but didn’t tell her what exactly.
Ziegler said he was not aware of officers responding to any other recent incidents at the business that might have been connected to the killings. Authorities are also waiting on autopsies from the medical examiner’s office to confirm the cause of death of the victims.
“At this time the bodies have not been properly identified, therefore the next of kins have not been identified,” Ziegler said. “This is currently being treated as a multiple homicide investigation.”
The building has many surveillance cameras, Ziegler said. He also asked other businesses in the area that might have video footage to come forward.
On Monday, people heading to the building looking to pay rent, and do walk-throughs for rentals were surprised when they walked up to a crime scene.
“I came here because nobody was answering the phone,” Suzette Wall told KFYR-TV.
The company posted to Facebook early Monday that it was closed for the day. RJR’s website identifies the business as a family-owned company that has been handling commercial and residential properties in Bismarck and Mandan for more than 20 years. Its services include collecting rent for landlords, paying mortgages, re-renting apartments, building and grounds maintenance, lawn care and snow removal. It also rents out storage units.
Judy Praus, 70, told the AP she was a longtime friend of the owner’s family and had just seen them at a restaurant Saturday. She said she also knew a lot of employees but had no details on any of them.
“When I was notified, I shattered,” she said. “Unbelievable.”
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and the Associated Press contributed to this report.