Episode

Zeeland Trailer 2

Zeeland 1976 Dakotaspotlight podcast dakotaspotlight.com

Curiosity.  What is it really?

Some say it is ‘an appetite for knowledge, information, and understanding.’  Others say, Curiosity killed the cat.’

NASA sent a Rover named Curiosity all the way to Mars.  It’s been exploring that planet since 2012, gathering data and collecting images, just to feed our thirst for knowledge and understanding.   

About four years ago I came across a short newspaper article, and pretty much from the get go, my curiosity could not be contained.  

In 1976, a banker and his wife were kidnapped and murdered in the small, quiet town of Zeeland, North Dakota, population 300.  They were killed by young men with local ties. One of them went to the same church as the victims. 

They were caught, convicted and given life sentences and there has never been any doubt about their guilt.

So why my curiosity?  

Perhaps because of the missing pieces.  A lot of the pieces were in place; the who, where, when and how, although I would discover that even some of those were inaccurate and needed to be replaced with the corrected ones.  But completely missing was the, Why. Why 

Well, it was a senseless crime, people say.  

In fact, when the Banker and his wife were buried, the pastor at the funeral said, ‘‘Things happen which we cannot understand.’  

And I thought maybe that’s true.  Maybe we can never fully understand it.  But if NASA can spend 2.5 Billion dollars to send rovers to Mars to look at rocks, perhaps I can spend a year of my life trying to fill in some of the missing pieces of a story about 2 innocent people killed in cold blood. 

So, I sought out every person, every document, every photograph, every article I could find. I reached out to every source of information, including the men who committed this crime. I consulted any authority I could locate.  

Until finally one morning, I woke up and realized.  At this moment, in many ways, I know more about this story than anyone else does.  And when you wake up, realizing you are the authority on a story, well then it’s time to tell the it complete with all the new pieces you’ve found. 

Or as the author Norman Maclean wrote in his book Young Men and Fire, ‘Often the best we can do with catastrophes, even our own, is to find out exactly what happened and to restore some of the missing parts — hopefully even the arch to the sky.’

Dakota Spotlight Season two will be released sometime during the fall or early winter of 2019. 

Go to dakotaspotlight.com for more info. 

The podcast is available anywhere you get your podcasts.