Central Minnesota may be the definition of small town USA, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dark past. October and November seem to be a bad omen in this area for a few reasons.

1. Rocori High School shooting (Cold Spring)– Rocori High School freshman John McLaughlin shot and killed 15-year-old freshman Seth Bartell and 17-year-old senior Aaron Rollins in Sept. 2003. McLaughlin claimed he did it because he was bullied about his acne. McLaughlin was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder and 12 years for second-degree murder.

2. The Vampire Murder (St. Cloud)–An 18-year-old named Tim Erickson murdered a homeless man named Donald Gall and licked the blood from his knife in March 1988. He claimed he was inspired to start a cult after watching the film “The Lost Boys.” He and another boy clubbed the man, stabbed him and slit his wrists. Erickson licked the knife used to kill Gall.

3. Thanksgiving Day murders (Little Falls)–Byron Smith from Little Falls, Minnesota was convicted of first-degree murder for killing two teenagers on Thanksgiving Day 2012. The authorities weren’t called until the next day because Smith claimed he didn’t want to ruin anyone’s Thanksgiving. The double murder case gained national attention and appeared on an episode of Dateline NBC.

4. Reker sisters murdered (Waite Park)–Susanne and Mary Reker went missing back on Sept. 2, 1974. They were found murdered in Waite Park’s Quarry Park nearly a month later. One of the sisters wrote in her diary before she died about how she feared for her life. Police still don’t know who did it. There is a $50,000 reward offered for any information on these murders. Contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240 with any information.

5. Jacob Wetterling (St. Joseph)–The 11-year-old St. Joseph native went missing in 1989 while biking  with two of his friends. He was abducted by a masked man and never found. His disappearance still remains a mystery to this day and has gained the attention of people from around the country. A person of interest was named in the Wetterling case in Oct. 2015. His name is Danny Heinrich. If you have any information about Jacob’s disappearance, please contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at (320) 259-3700

6. Killing of Cold Spring officer Tom Decker (Cold Spring)–Cold Spring-Richmond Police Officer Tom Decker was fatally shot and killed while on duty in November 2012. He was sent to check on a possible suicidal person at an apartment above a local Cold Spring bar. Authorities cleared the name of the suicidal person as a suspect in the case. Police had a second person of interest who killed himself a few months later. Decker’s killer remains a mystery to this day.

7. Disapearance of Josh Guimond (Collegeville)–The Saint John’s University freshman disappeared after walking back to his dorm from party in November 2002. What should have been a three minute walk has left many people questioning what happened. If you have any information about Josh Guimond’s disappearance, please contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at (320) 259-3700.