View Full Version : ND ND - Jeanna North, 11, Fargo, 28 June 1993
02-02-2008, 02:51 PM
Missing Since: June 28, 1993 from Fargo, North Dakota
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 12, 1981
Age: 11 years old
Height and Weight: 4'3, 55 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. North has pierced ears. Her nickname is Cobbie.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue t-shirt with gold and white mime masks imprinted on the front, turquoise shorts and black Rollerblades with neon green wheels.
Details of Disappearance
North was Rollerblading with a friend in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota during the evening hours of June 28, 1993. A police officer saw the two girls stop at a local convenience store at approximately 10:30 p.m. According to North's friend, they headed back towards their homes shortly thereafter. North's friend said that she arrived at her own residence and watched North Rollerblade to the corner of 15th Street and 4th Avenue. Her friend went inside and North has never been seen again. She never arrived at her family's house, which was 120 feet away from the corner.
North's neighbor, Kyle Kenneth Bell, confessed to molesting and murdering North in January 1995, nearly two years after her disappearance. A photo of Bell is posted below this case summary. Bell stated that he sexually assaulted North during the evening she vanished in his garage. She threatened to tell her parents about the incident and Bell hit her. Bell claimed her death was accidental; he maintained that North slipped while wearing her Rollerblades after he struck her and died as a result of her injuries. Bell said that he dumped North's body in the Sheyenne River shortly after her death. A search of the area began in 1995 after his confession, but no evidence was located.
Bell claimed that his confession was coerced by authorities and recanted his statements in May 1995. Bell had already been convicted of molesting other young girls at the time. Meanwhile, the continuing search of the Sheyenne River produced a piece of rope and a cinder block in 1996. The materials matched elements found inside Bell's residence and it is believed they may have been used in the disposal of North's remains.
Authorities matched several hairs found in Bell's truck to North's DNA and he was convicted of her murder in 1999. Bell was sentenced to life in prison. He escaped from a transport van in New Mexico in October 1999, less than one month after he was sentenced in the crime. Bell's whereabouts remained a mystery until January 9, 2000, when he was arrested in Dallas, Texas. America's Most Wanted profiled Bell on its television show the weekend prior to his capture. Bell was recognized by a viewer of the program as Christopher Larson, an alias Bell employed during his time as a fugitive. Bell has since been imprisoned.
North has never been recovered and searches for her body have been discontinued due to financial constraints.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Fargo Police Department
Charley Project (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/n/north_jeanna.html)
06-28-2008, 12:49 PM
15 years later, still no body
Brittany Lawonn (firstname.lastname@example.org), The Forum
Published Saturday, June 28, 2008
It’s been 15 years since John North’s youngest daughter disappeared and nine years since his neighbor was convicted of killing the spunky 11-year-old.
But there’s still one thing missing: Jeanna’s body.
03-19-2009, 09:59 AM
Fargo man's volunteer group helps authorities solve crimes
By Associated Press
FARGO -- After years of keeping baker's hours, Peter Fendt decided his mornings could be spent helping authorities solve underwater mysteries.
Fendt, proprietor of Quality Bakery in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., also is president of Valley Water Rescue.
The nonprofit volunteer diving group, formed in 1993, has searched rivers and lakes in the area to retrieve bodies, submerged vehicles, and weapons.
"Well, at night I'm baking, so that gives me time during the day to volunteer," Fendt said. "I'm just glad to give something back to the community."
Fendt, a longtime scuba diver, founded the Fargo group after volunteering to help find a drowning victim near Pelican Rapids, Minn.
After recruiting divers and receiving specialized training, the group was ready for its first job -- an unsuccessful search for 11-year-old Jeanna North, a Fargo girl who disappeared in June 1993.
Once, the group retrieved an AK-47 rifle and ammunition from the Red River. "The police officer (at the scene) was amazed we could retrieve something as small as bullets," Fendt said.
The group includes 15 divers and four assistants. Fendt's wife, Marcene, plays a key role by helping contact and organize the divers when they're needed.
Mike Knorr, a diver who's been with Valley Water Rescue since it began, said Peter Fendt is its backbone.
"He has such great passion and energy for what he's doing," Knorr said.
03-19-2009, 10:00 AM
photo of an original article here
03-19-2009, 10:03 AM
Family still looking for closure as Jeanna North case marks 15... email to a friend
Jun 28 2008 2:21PM
Family still looking for closure as Jeanna North case marks 15 years
Fargo, N.D. (AP) It's been 15 years since 11-year-old Jeanna North disappeared in Fargo.
Her family is still looking for closure despite the fact that the man convicted of killing her has been behind bars nearly a decade.
Father John North says there won't be closure until his daughter's remains are found.
The man convicted in 1999 of killing Jeanna Kyle Bell told authorities he threw her body into the Sheyenne River, then later recanted.
Police Sergeant Jeff Skuza says every couple of years authorities receive a tip about Jeanna's remains. But nothing has been found, and Skuza says nothing new has been added to the file on Jeanna's disappearance since 2002.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP 06-28-08 1413CDT |
03-19-2009, 10:06 AM
Man guilty of killing girl, 11; Jeanna North's `life has been avenged,' father says.(NEWS)
Article from:Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Article date:August 21, 1999 Author: Tellijohn, Andrew More results for: Jeanna North
1/3 Connie Holbrook sat on her couch Friday afternoon, riveted to the television while waiting for a verdict in the trial of Kyle Bell, who was accused of killing Holbrook's 11-year-old niece, Jeanna North, six years ago.
For Holbrook, the wait was worthwhile.
After about four hours of deliberation, the North Dakota jury convicted Bell of Class AA murder for the disappearance of the Fargo girl while she was inline skating in June 1993.
"He killed my niece and now he is going to pay for it," Holbrook said. "There is no doubt in my mind that he did it."
Jeanna's body was never found, but jury foreman Don Taghon said the jurors agreed right away that Bell was guilty of a crime. They deliberated over whether to convict him of Class AA murder or of the lesser charge of Class A murder.
Taghon said Bell's actions after the killing, when he tied Jeanna's body to a concrete block and dumped her in the Sheyenne River near Fargo, swayed the decision.
Bell, 31, showed no emotion while the verdict was read. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
Jeanna's mother and two sisters gasped and wept as the clerk read the verdict at 4:20 p.m.
"I don't think I can ever be this happy again in my life," said Jeanna's sister Jessica. What was important to her, she said, was that "everyone in the world knows that [Bell] did it."
Less than two hours after the announcement, Jeanna's parents were back at their hotel preparing for a dinner with relatives. They said they were relieved that justice had been served and they could have some closure.
"It's been an emotional week," said her father, John North. "We're just happy justice has been served, and our daughter's life has been avenged in a way."
North said he hopes the judge will give Bell life in prison without parole so "he won't be able to do this to anybody else again.
"You take a life, you should forfeit your life," he said.
Said Jeanna's mother, Sue Hurst: "We think he got just what he had coming."
Birch Burdick, the Cass County state's attorney, said he was inclined to ask the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
Bell is already serving 30 years in prison for an unrelated child molestation case.
He was charged with Class AA murder in Jeanna's case, but East Central District Judge Frank Racek had decided Thursday to let the jury consider convicting Bell of Class A murder or manslaughter.
Burdick said he wasn't surprised that the jury convicted Bell of the most severe crime, even though the body has never been found and police did not find any physical evidence to connect him to her death.
"I felt that there was plenty of evidence that the jury could use to reach that verdict," he said.
Getting a conviction without a body is often difficult because prosecutors have no crime scene evidence they can use and they cannot discuss possible motives during trial, said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
In 1992, he prosecuted a man who had been suspected of killing Corrine Erstad, a 5-year-old Inver Grove Heights girl. She hasn't been found.
Backstrom said the case still bothers him. Evidence included a bloody dress with the suspect's and Erstad's hair that was found in the suspect's storage locker. The man was acquitted.
"I am very pleased they were able to earn a conviction," Backstrom said of Jeanna's case. "It's still very difficult to get a conviction without a body."
One major difference in Jeanna's case was that prosecutors were able to use Bell's admission to police. Officers testified that Bell admitted striking Jeanna hard enough for her to fall and hit her head on the floor of his garage, and that he said he tied her body to a concrete block and dumped it in the Sheyenne.
Bell's attorney, Steve Mottinger, tried to get the confession thrown out of court. Taghon said it was the key evidence.
Mottinger said the verdict would be appealed. He suggested that Bell's statements to police "were offered as a way to end the digging . . . the constant scrutiny."
"The government's case is based on hint, based on guess, based on suspicion, based on conjecture," Mottinger said. The trial was moved to Mandan in central North Dakota near Bismarck, because of publicity in the Fargo area.
"The North family can finally sleep at night," said Adam Hamm, assistant Cass County state's attorney. "This guy is a monster. Hopefully with this verdict we can put him away for good."
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
03-19-2009, 10:08 AM
another older article
Murder case is mired in dilemma; With no body, North Dakota prosecutors face a challenge in proving the charge against a Fargo man accused in Jeanna North's disappearance.(NEWS)
Article from:Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Article date:September 20, 1998 Author: Meryhew, Richard More results for: Jeanna North
Jeanna North's parents say they're pretty sure they know what happened that summer night five years ago when their 11-year-old daughter went roller-blading and never came home.
Investigators who searched neighborhoods, fields and rivers around Fargo, N.D., looking for the girl seem confident that they know what happened, too.
And last week, after five years of gathering evidence, a prosecutor became convinced enough that he knows what transpired the night of June 28, 1993, that he finally filed murder charges.
But all the evidence and accusations stacked against Kyle Bell, a 30-year-old repeat sex offender who lived across the street from the North family, may not be good enough.
Convicting Bell will be difficult, because Jeanna's body still hasn't been found.
Without a body, prosecutors must work without valuable forensic evidence and potential clues. Without a body, they work without knowing with certainty the cause of death or, in the minds of some, whether a death even occurred.
"The problem is, you have to prove the death beyond a reasonable doubt," said John Goff, state's attorney for Cass County, N.D. "Without the body, that becomes a significant task. Obviously, we think we're in a position where we think we're able to do that and move ahead.
"But it still is a significantly difficult thing to do."
Several cases in Minnesota are proof.
In 1992, Robert Guevara was charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the disappearance of Corrine Erstad, a 5-year-old girl from Inver Grove Heights who was reported missing that June.
Despite forensic evidence that included a bloody dress with Guevara's and Erstad's hair found in Guevara's storage locker, and a shower curtain stained with semen and blood, Guevara, who denied involvement, was acquitted.
Two jurors said after the trial that the missing body was a key reason for the acquittal. Without a body, the jurors said, the prosecution lacked evidence proving that Erstad was dead and, therefore, that Guevara could have killed her.
In 1988, Cass and Crow Wing county authorities tried Jerome Bye, a Pequot Lakes real-estate agent accused in the death of Charlotte Lysdale, 68, who disappeared from her Pine River home in June 1985.
Bye was accused of murdering Lysdale, stealing the deed to her property on Lower Hay Lake and hiding her body, which was never found. Bye was the last person to be seen with Lysdale, who was last spotted going to a meeting with Bye at his office.
Although a grand jury found enough probable cause to charge him and prosecutors thought they had enough to convict him, a jury acquitted him of murder.
Cass County, Minn., Attorney Earl Maus said last week that he and other attorneys working the case had to "cover all the grounds to get rid of the inference that [Lysdale] may be alive. . . . It's an element of proof. To some, that may be the ultimate one. . . . And in the average homicide case, you don't have that to contend with at all."
Garry Peterson, the Hennepin County medical examiner, said finding the body is the most important element of any murder case, because "it establishes that that individual really is deceased. That sounds so elementary, but you do have occasions where someone disguises a homicide or a suicide and shows up years later.
"Even with a small child . . . they can be kidnapped, taken and put into another family."
Without a body, prosecutors also work without forensic evidence that, in some cases, can break an investigation open, said James Backstrom, the Dakota County attorney and the prosecutor in Guevara's trial.
Even if a body isn't found until years later, or is badly decomposed when found, it "may still have some indications of what the cause of death was," Peterson said. There also may be artificial things there, too - a piece of twine, a piece of tape - that provide a clue, he said.
The outcomes of the Guevara and Bye trials - believed to be the only murder cases brought to trial in Minnesota without a body - have made other investigators and prosecutors leery of charging suspects in similar situations.
Goodhue County Chief Deputy Dean Albers said authorities investigating the June 1995 disappearance of Jessica Swanson, who was 3 when she was reported missing from her home in Cannon Falls, Minn., are almost certain she was murdered, but her body has never been found.
Albers said authorities have cleared nearly every possible suspect in the case, with the exception of Swanson's mother and boyfriend, who were the last adults to see Swanson alive and who have given investigators inconsistent accounts of what happened the day Jessica disappeared.
But without more evidence, or a body, linking someone to the crime, making an arrest - let alone prosecuting someone - is difficult.
It's the same for authorities investigating the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling, of St. Joseph, Minn., and the 1995 disappearance of Mason City, Iowa, TV anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit. Neither Wetterling nor Huisentruit has been found.
"Without a body, there is an inability to determine the cause of death, which is crucial when you're trying to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt," Backstrom said. "And when you're trying to prove premeditation and intent to kill, that can be very difficult."
Goff, the prosecutor in the Jeanna North case, is reluctant to discuss the additional evidence obtained by authorities in recent months that prompted him to finally file charges against Bell.
But family members and investigators say there is strong evidence pointing to Bell's involvement. Among the factors working against him:
- Bell was in the neighborhood at the time North disappeared. "He was the last one to see her alive; he told the media that," said Sue Hurst, Jeanna's mother.
Jeanna's aunt, Connie Holbrook, said one of Jeanna's friends last saw her on a street corner not far from Bell's house, which is just across and down the street from the North home.
Holbrook said she long has suspected that Jeanna, who would have known Bell as a neighbor, probably stopped to talk with him on her way home.
- Bell is a repeat sex offender. He served prison time in the late 1980s in South Dakota for a sex offense and moved to Colorado soon after Jeanna disappeared. Almost two years after Jeanna disappeared, he was convicted in Cass County, N.D., for molesting two Fargo girls inside his home in 1993 and 1994. He is now serving a 30-year sentence in an Upper Midwest prison.
- Authorities say Bell confessed to the crime. The former slaughterhouse and construction worker denied involvement in the North case until January 1995, when he was sentenced for molesting the two girls, ages 8 and 3. Eight hours later - and after Hurst confronted him in the courtroom during his sentencing - Bell told authorities that he had tied Jeanna's body to a cement block and dumped it in the Sheyenne River after she died in his home. He said that the death was an accident, and that North hit her head on the wall.
Bell later recanted, saying the admission was forced. But authorities believe the detail of the confession is strong.
"He even took us out to the spot, and said, `This is where it was,' " said Lt. Rick Majerus, an investigator on the case for the Cass County Sheriff's Department. "Everything led toward him. The only thing he wouldn't go into was the exact way of the killing."
Bell made a case to a federal judge and tried to have the confession suppressed, but the action was dismissed, meaning the confession might be admissible at his trial.
- Authorities found a cement block and rope in the river where Bell told authorities he disposed of the body. Authorities searched the Sheyenne nearly a dozen times. They dammed it up twice, walked the river bottom and called hydrologists and engineers to study every curve and current. In one of the final searches, they found a block similar to the type of blocks Bell had at his house.
Majerus, however, said that there was no evidence that a body had been attached to it.
Despite all that, state's attorney Goff and others know winning the case will be difficult.
"Basically, it's going to be up to our American justice system," said John North, Jeanna's father. "Hopefully, it'll turn out in our favor."
03-19-2009, 10:11 AM
an older announcement regarding the criminal charges
CHARGES IN THE JEANNA NORTH CASE*** ***DATED COPY***
Article from:United Press International Article date:September 15, 1998 More results for: Jeanna North
United Press International
***CHARGES IN THE JEANNA NORTH CASE*** ***DATED COPY***
(FARGO) CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE EXPECTED TO BE BROUGHT THIS AFTERNOON IN
CONNECTION WITH THE 1993 DISAPPEARANCE AND MURDER OF JEANNA NORTH, OF
FARGO. NORTH WAS LAST SEEN NEAR HER HOME IN JUNE OF 1993. THE PRIMARY
SUSPECT IN THE CASE, KYLE BELL, EARLIER CONFESSED VO KIDNAPPING AND
KILLING THE GIRL, BUT WAS NEVER CHARGED. BELL IS CURRENTLY IN PRISON ON
AN UNRELATED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CHARGE.
CASS COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY JOHN GOFF WILL BE MEETING WITH REPORTERS
THIS AFTERNOON (2PM), POSSIBLTY TO ANNOUNCE CHARGES AGAINST BELL. TWO
YEARS AGO GOFF DISCLOSED HE WAS THINKING ABOUT CONVENING A GRAND JURY
TO CONSIDER EVIDENCE AGAINST BELL.
(THANKS TO PAUL JURGENS, KFGO-FARGO)
03-19-2009, 10:13 AM
United Press International
(MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA) A GUILTY VERDICT YESTERDAY (FRIDAY) IN MANDAN,
NORTH DAKOTA. KYLE BELL OF FARGO WAS FOUND GUILTY OF CLASS-DOUBLE-A
MURDER IN THE DISAPPEARANCE OF 11-YEAR-OLD FARGO NATIVE JEANNA
(JEE-NUH) NORTH. JURORS DELIBERATED FOR ABOUT FOUR HOURS YESTERDAY
AFTERNOON BEFORE DELIVERING THE VERDICT.
NORTH DISAPPEARED IN JUNE, 1993. HER BODY HAS NEVER BEEN FOUND.
CLASS-DOUBLE-A MURDER CARRIES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF LIFE IN PRISON
WITHOUT PAROLE. BELL'S ATTORNEY, STEVE MOTTINGER, SAYS HE WILL APPEAL.
THE TRIAL WAS MOVED TO MANDAD, NORTH DAKOTA BECAUSE OF PUBLICITY.
(THANKS TO DON HANEY_KFGO-FARGO)
03-19-2009, 10:14 AM
HERE'S THE LATEST NORTH DAKOTA NEWS.
Article from:United Press International Article date:September 27, 1999 More results for: Jeanna North
Companies mentioned: Bell
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(FARGO) KYLE BELL HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON IN CONNECTION WITH THE 1993 DEATH OF FARGO TEENAGER JEANNA NORTH. THE 31-YEAR OLD BELL WAS CONVICTED OF THE CRIME LAST MONTH IN A TRIAL IN MANDAN. THE SENTECE WAS HANDED DOWN TODAY BY JUDGE FRANK RACEK (RAY'-SEHK) WHO ALSO PRESIDED OVER THE JURY TRIAL. THE JURY FOUND BELL GUILTY OF THE CRIME EVEN THOUGH NORTH'S BODY HAS NEVER BEEN FOUND.
ASSISTANT CASS COUNTY STATES ATTORNEY ADAM HAMM CALLED BELL'S CRIME HEINOUS AND DESCRIBED BELL AS BEING WITHOUT REMORSE.
SPEAKING BEFORE THE SENTENCING, NORTH'S FATHER, JOHN NORTH, TOLD THE COURT HE WOULD ASK FOR THE DEATH PENALTY FOR BELL, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT AN OPTION FOR THE STATE.
(THANKS TO KFGO NEWS
03-19-2009, 10:16 AM
United Press International
(BISMARCK) THE JURY IN THE KYLE BELL MURDER TRIAL WILL GET THE CASE
SOMETIME FRIDAY. THAT WAS THE RULING WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FROM DISTRICT
JUDGE FRANK RACEK (RAY-SEK). BELL _ OF FARGO _ IS CHARGED WITH MURDER
IN THE DISAPPEARANCE OF JEANNA NORTH OF FARGO. PROSECUTORS HAVE RELIED
ON STATEMENTS BY TWO FARGO POLICE OFFICERS THAT BELL CONFESSED TO THE
MURDER. BUT NORTH'S BODY HAS NEVER BEEN RECOVERED. PROSECUTORS SAY THEY
PLAN TO CALL ONE LAST WITNESS TODAY. THE DEFENSE WILL NOT BE CALLING
03-19-2009, 10:18 AM
One mother comes to another's aid; Sue North, whose daughter was abducted and slain in 1993, was in court Monday to help support Linda Walker.(NEWS)
Article from:Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Article date:August 30, 2006 Author: Haga, Chuck More results for: Jeanna North
Byline: Chuck Haga; Staff Writer
Fargo, N.D. -- As she sits in the courtroom and listens to the ever-numbing accounts of her daughter's abduction and death, Linda Walker leans on the compassion of loved ones - and sometimes a stranger.
Dru Sjodin's mother often claims a seat on the aisle of a row designated for the family. At breaks in the trial of the man accused of killing her daughter, she often rushes from the courtroom, escaping sight of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., sitting a few feet away, and the bench where government exhibits lay as if on display for a rummage sale.
Dru's blue-black peacoat. Her pink shirt. A stylish black leather shoe found beneath a bridge and a matching shoe found near her body. Dru's cell phone, the one that sent a final, wordless signal the night of Nov. 22, 2003.
In the courtroom, Walker is surrounded by others who mourn her daughter. She often sits next to Dru's father, Allan Sjodin, who frequently praises his ex-wife for the strength she has shown in working for Dru's Law, aimed at protecting other young women from sexual predators.
This week, Sue North came to court to bolster Walker even as she continues to struggle with her own loss.
North's daughter, Jeanna, 11, was abducted in 1993 by Kyle Bell, a convicted child molester, who murdered the Fargo girl in his garage and dumped her body in the Sheyenne River.
The body was never found.
Bell was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. But the years since have been hard on Jeanna's mother.
She lost her business and her marriage, she said. Hospitalized for a time for depression, she said she is living in a homeless shelter in Fargo.
"You take it one day at a time," she said as she waited to meet Walker. "And you can't do it without God's help.
"I've learned a lot since Jeanna was taken about how we don't take care of children in this country. But it's getting better."
She wasn't sure how she would handle sitting in the courtroom, hearing the details of a young woman's abuse and violent death.
"But I thought that lady could use some support." She met Walker on Monday and explained who she was, and the women hugged.
"Thank you for coming," Walker said. North nodded.
"If you need me," she said, "I'm sitting right over there."
Chuck Haga - 612-673-4514
03-19-2009, 10:19 AM
Article from:United Press International Article date:October 18, 1999 More results for: Jeanna North
Companies mentioned: Bell
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(SANTA ROSA, NEW MEXICO) THE GROUND SEARCH FOR NORTH DAKOTA CONVICT KYLE BELL HAS ENDED. OFFICIALS HAVE SCALED BACK A MASSIVE MAN-HUNT FOR THE ESCAPED MURDERER. NEW MEXICO STATE LIEUTENANT, RICHARD NEWMAN, SAYS AUTHORITIES DON'T HAVE ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT TO BELIEVE BELL IS IN THEIR AREA. OFFICIALS BELIEVE THAT BELL MAY HAVE MOVED EAST INTO TEXAS. NEW MEXICO OFFICERS WILL CONTINUE TO RESPOND TO REPORTS OF SIGHTINGS, AND OFFICERS NATIONWIDE ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR BELL. WHAT HAPPENS NOW IS UP TO OFFICIALS FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND TEXAS.
THE 32 YEAR-OLD BELL WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON LAST MONTH FOR THE MURDER OF A 11 YEAR-OLD JEANNA NORTH FROM FARGO. HE ESCAPED FROM A PRISONER TRANSPORT BUS IN CENTRAL NEW MEXICO EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.
03-19-2009, 10:21 AM
Bell escape stirs questions, reward in North Dakota.(NEWS)
Article from:Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Article date:October 15, 1999 Author: Furst, Randy More results for: Jeanna North
Companies mentioned: TransCor Waste Services Inc.
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1/3 While state police and helicopters searched the New Mexico terrain Thursday for escaped convict Kyle Bell, North Dakota officials wondered why it took a private security firm transporting the killer 10 hours before it discovered he was no longer on the bus.
"We have a lot of questions," Elaine Little, director of North Dakota's Department of Corrections said in an interview.
Gov. Ed Schafer announced Thursday a $50,000 reward for information leading to Bell's capture. (He said tipsters should call 1-701-328-9921.) He said a nationwide manhunt was underway.
Authorities in New Mexico said they received several reports of Bell sightings Thursday, but none panned out.
"We have not had any reports of stolen vehicles or carjackings in that area," New Mexico State Police Lt. Richard Newman said.
Fliers with Bell's picture on them were being put in area stores, and the U.S. Border Patrol and authorities in neighboring states had been notified of the escape.
One prisoner told police that Bell unlocked leg irons and handcuffs with a key he had in his shoe, then another inmate helped him climb through a roof vent in the TransCor America bus. He escaped during a fuel stop in Santa Rosa, N.M., 110 miles east of Albuquerque. Bell apparently jumped off the top of the bus after it left the gas station.
Residents of Santa Rosa (pop. 2,200) expressed little fear about Bell, many believing he probably got a ride on a nearby freeway.
"He probably jumped on a semi," said Mario Chavez, a bartender at Rita's Lounge.
Helen Padilla, owner of Pecos Bar and Grocery, also thought he'd fled. "There's no sense staying around here and getting caught," she said.
The bus, carrying 12 inmates, was operated by Nashville-based TransCor, the nation's largest prisoner transport company. Bell, who was convicted in the death of 11-year-old Jeanna North of Fargo, was being taken to an Oregon prison.
Little said TransCor guards did not count the prisoners before the bus left the gas station, nor did they make counts after two additional stops during which some prisoners were transferred.
Bell was discovered missing during a stop in Arizona, between 1 and 1:30 p.m., or 10 hours after the fuel stop in Santa Rosa. TransCor staff members apparently spent up to three hours trying to determine if Bell had been accidentally let off during transfers before they notified North Dakota authorities of the escape at 4:30 p.m.
"We want to know from the beginning to the end what they did with Mr. Bell and how could they go so long without realizing he was not in the bus," Little said.
She said she also wanted to know why a vent was unsecured. "We want to know whether there were procedures that weren't followed or if they don't exist."
TransCor issued a news release, saying "it appears that several procedural violations have occurred involving security policies." Those included "searching, counts and agent positioning," but the company did not elaborate. It said "we are embarrassed by this incident" and that the bus crew had been relieved of duty.
Little said her department decided Thursday not to use the firm to transfer another inmate and was "definitely" rethinking whether to use the company at all.
Minnesota's Department of Corrections doesn't use private firms to move prisoners, agency spokeswoman Shari Burt said.
"A couple of years ago, we looked at the option . . . and we felt it was more efficient and cost effective and provided better security if we used our own staff and vehicles," she said.
She said private firms make stops around the country to pick up prisoners, and more stops mean more chances for incidents. "We certainly have been aware that there have some problems with private transports," she said.
Bell received a life sentence for North's 1993 death. He already was serving a 30-year sentence for molesting two children in 1993 and 1994, said Birch Burdick, Cass County states attorney.
TransCor was informed by North Dakota officials that Bell was a high risk, Little said, because he had tried to escape from the Cass County jail, and officials on another occasion had found a letter with an escape plan in it.
Col. Jim Hughes, commander of the North Dakota State Patrol, said Bell was picked up by TransCor on Oct. 4 and driven to Nashville, the company's headquarters. He was to be driven to Las Vegas, then Oregon. Asked if it is unusual to drive a prisoner east in order to drive him west, Hughes said, "I don't know what is usual anymore. . . . It looks like when they get enough guys to go west, they disperse them."
Lt. Newman, of the New Mexico State Police, said that had his department learned immediately that Bell had escaped, officers would have set up roadblocks. But that wasn't done, he said, because they learned of it 12 hours afterward.
- Staff librarian Sandy Date contributed to this report.
03-19-2009, 10:24 AM
Longtime suspect charged with murder of missing Fargo girl; Sex offender lived near 11-year-old.(NEWS)
Article from:Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Article date:September 16, 1998 Author: Meryhew, Richard More results for: Jeanna North
A repeat sex offender who lived across the street from an 11-year-old Fargo, N.D., girl who disappeared while roller-blading five years ago was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting and killing her.
Kyle Bell, who once confessed to abducting and killing Jeanna North and dumping her body in a North Dakota river, was formally charged in Cass County Court in Fargo. Although he later recanted, authorities continued to suspect him of being responsible for North's disappearance.
Cass County State's Attorney John Goff said Tuesday that authorities have collected "additional relevant" evidence in recent months that would enable them to win a conviction in the case even though North's body has never been found.
"I think we're in a strong enough position now . . . to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Goff said at a news conference Tuesday.
He declined to discuss what additional evidence has been obtained.
"I'm not going to mislead anybody . . . that the information that we've uncovered in the last month or six months is a smoking gun," he said. "It's just additional information that has been relevant or supportive of the charges that we've brought."
Bell is serving a 30-year sentence for pleading guilty to other child molestation charges involving two Fargo girls, one of whom was a friend of Jeanna's.
North's parents said Tuesday that they were more relieved than surprised by the charges.
Both said they've long thought Bell was responsible for Jeanna's disappearance.
"We've been kinda waiting for this to happen," said John North, Jeanna's father. "Now it's finally happening. It kinda breaks open old wounds and stuff, but then again, it's about time it goes to court."
Said Jeanna's mother, Sue, "I'm glad to see something finally getting done. But I'm certainly not looking forward to going to the trial and having the whole thing rehashed and our soul ripped out again."
Both parents declined to discuss details of the case or the additional evidence the state's attorney obtained.
Goff said last month that authorities had been reluctant to charge Bell until they could strengthen their case against him.
"There are obviously difficulties with the case, but I think we're in a strong enough position now . . . to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Goff said Tuesday.
Jeanna disappeared the night of June 28, 1993, while in-line skating near her home. Bell previously served prison time in the late 1980s in South Dakota for a sex offense. He became a suspect almost immediately, but authorities lacked sufficient evidence - specifically a body - to charge him.
In January 1995, just hours after being sentenced to 40 years for molesting the two Fargo girls, authorities said Bell, then 27, confessed to assaulting Jeanna, tying her body to a cinderblock and dumping her from a bridge into the Sheyenne River outside Fargo.
Bell later recanted, claiming the confession was coerced. But a federal judge dismissed Bell's effort to have the confession suppressed. Repeated searches haven't found any trace of Jeanna's body. But in November, investigators said pieces of rope and cinderblock found in the river matched samples seized from Bell's home.
Bell was moved from the state prison in Bismarck, N.D., in 1996 to an out-of-state facility for his protection. Goff said he immediately will seek to have Bell returned to Fargo to face new charges. John North said Tuesday that it may take three to four weeks before Bell returns.
Goff said the fact that authorities may never recover Jeanna's body makes the case one of the most difficult he has handled: "It's a case where we're pursuing a murder charge without the physical evidence of a victim."
Interest in Jeanna's case was rekindled this summer by the disappearance and death of 16-year-old Julie Holmquist of Hallock, Minn., who disappeared in July while roller-blading and whose body was found Aug. 20. No one has been arrested in connection with that case.
- The Associated Press contributed to this story.
03-19-2009, 10:27 AM
WOODS TURN EFFORTS TO HELP FIND OTHER MISSING GIRLS.(CAPITAL REGION)
Article from:Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) Article date:January 22, 1994 More results for: Jeanna North
Byline: Associated Press
The first of 18,000 fliers with the pictures of two missing girls from Idaho and North Dakota will be mailed out next week to locations across both states by a New York volunteer group.
The Sara Anne Wood Rescue Center will target grocery stores, service stations, banks and churches in the two states with its posters of Jeanna North and Stephanie Crane, said Howard Quimby, the center's operations manager, on Friday.
Additionally, a television public service announcement featuring Frances Wood, Sara's mother, is being distributed in Idaho, North Dakota and parts of Montana to help publicize the girls' disappearances, said Roseann Grotevant, a center spokeswoman.
The rescue center, set up by Wood family supporters soon after Sara disappeared Aug. 18, sent out more than 4 million fliers in its effort to find the missing 12-year-old, who vanished while riding her bicycle home along acountry road from the church where her father is pastor.
Last week, as State Police searched a frozen Adirondack forest for Sara's body, Robert Wood told volunteers to stop sending out Sara's picture and instead use the center's resources to publicize the disappearances of Stephanie Crane and Jeanna North.
Wood, saying he now believes his daughter is dead, said he was "adopting" the Crane and North cases.
Crane, a brown-haired, blue-eyed 9-year-old, was last seen in Challis, Idaho, on Oct. 11, 1993. North, a blond-haired, blue-eyed 12-year-old, vanished in Fargo, N.D., on June 28, 1993. Both families have said their ordeals have received little attention.
On Friday, more than a dozen volunteers began putting mailing labels on envelopes that they stuffed with fliers earlier this week. Quimby said he expected to mail out the first batches by Tuesday.
"We're not moving as fast as we hoped. Because of the cold weather, a lot of our volunteers have been having car troubles and couldn't make it in," said Quimby.
The envelopes contain two cover letters. One from the center asks the recipient to copy the flier and distribute as many as possible, Quimby said. The other is from Robert Wood, with a postscript from the mothers of the missing girls.
"When a child is missing, it's everyone's business," Robert Wood wrote. "This child is not a statistic but someone with real hopes, dreams, family and a future. Your help could bring the breakthrough that her parents pray for."
Frances Wood makes a similar appeal in the 30-second public service announcement, which is being produced by Syracuse television station WTVH, a CBS affiliate, Grotevant said.
In the television spot, Wood, who has made few public comments about her daughter's disappearance, says not knowing the whereabouts of a missing child and being alone and helpless to find them is a parent's worst fear.
While the rescue center continued its work, State Police and military volunteers searched for Sara's body for a 12th day in the frozen Adirondack forest near Raquette Lake, about 100 miles northwest of Albany.
Suspected serial killer Lewis Lent Jr., 43, of North Adams, Mass., directed authorities to the spot after being arrested in Pittsfield, Mass., for the failed abduction of a 12-year-old girl there. He also has been charged with the slaying of a 12-year-old Pittsfield boy.
So far, State Police have not turned up anything after digging up a nearly 4-acre site. Their progress has been slowed by heavy snow, frozen ground and temperatures as low as minus 50
03-06-2012, 12:36 PM
i wish they could at least find her remains and lay her to rest
06-27-2012, 10:36 PM
Nineteen years tomorrow without you, Jeanna. :( Someone out there knows where you are.
05-01-2013, 04:54 PM
:bump: for Jeanna, missing nearly 20 years now. :(
Jeanna's friend said that she arrived at her own residence and watched Jeanna rollerblade to the corner of 15th Street and 4th Avenue. Her friend went inside and Jeanna has never been seen again. She never arrived at her family's house, which was only a few hundred feet away from the corner.
Jeanna Dale North (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/n/north_jeanna.html)
05-02-2013, 04:48 AM
What a beautiful little girl. I hope she'll be found one day.
06-23-2013, 06:45 AM
Jeanna has been missing for twenty years this week. Her mother died in 2009 without learning what exactly happened to her daughter.
I will never forget where I was when the news of Jeanna's disappearance first aired on local television. I was five years old, a fearful child, and Jeanna's face stuck with me all these years.
I hope Kyle Bell thinks of her every day.
06-28-2013, 04:10 PM
In exchange for a voluntary statement about Jeanna's disappearance, an investigator told Bell he would recommend an unspecified sentence to run concurrently with his molestation sentence.
Interrogators reminded Bell that the statute of limitations never expires in a murder case, and someday he possibly could face charges.
Bell jumped at the offer to effectively serve the same sentence for two criminal cases. In a series of interviews over a period of hours, Bell said Jeanna performed a sexual act on him in his garage, just minutes after she was last seen. He claimed she initiated the encounter.
06-28-2013, 04:34 PM
In a series of interviews over a period of hours, Bell said Jeanna performed a sexual act on him in his garage, just minutes after she was last seen. He claimed she initiated the encounter.
What a POS...Jeanna was facing a monster and I hope she has found peace and is having a blast with all her fellow angels up there.
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