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Crime News Breaking News

North Dakota Farmer And Three Farmhands Are Found Dead In Wheat Field In Apparent Murder-Suicide

Douglas Dulmage and farmhands Robert Bracken, Richard Bracken Justin Bracken were harvesting wheat when one of them pulled out a gun and opened fire, according to authorities.

By Jill Sederstrom
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A North Dakota farmer and three farmhands were found dead in a wheat field in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide.

Towner County Sheriff Andrew Hillier identified the deceased Wednesday as 56-year-old farmer Douglas Dulmage, 59-year-old Robert Bracken, 64-year-old Richard Bracken and 34-year-old Justin Bracken.

A .357 caliber revolver was found in the possession of one of the deceased at the scene, but authorities have not released any details about who they believe pulled the trigger. Hillier said in an earlier release that the deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide and a forensic medical examination of the victims is expected in the next few days.

The bodies were discovered Monday in a wheatfield on the 6100 block of 66th NE outside of Leeds around 6 p.m. after a family member of one of the farmhands Dulmage had hired to help him harvest the wheat went to check on him, The Forum/WDAY reported.

Dulmage, a husband and father of two girls, had reportedly been shot and killed while combining wheat on his property.

"It's such a terror act, it's an act of terror you don't think about up here," Dulmage’s friend Pat Traynor told the news outlet.

Traynor remembered his friend of nearly two decades as a generous soul who liked to help people under the radar.

“He was a pillar of the community; it’s a total devastating loss,” he said. “He epitomized what it was like to be in the country, in terms of friendliness, kindness, empathy, people helping each other.”

Traynor told Valley News Live that Dulmage had been well-liked and respected in the rural community.

“Doug didn’t have enemies,” he said. “Everybody loved, loved Doug. Just a tremendous role model for us all.”

He had also served as the president of the Benson County Farm Bureau.

Family members of the victims reportedly told the media outlet that the victims had been killed after an argument had broken out between the Bracken relatives, although police have not confirmed that account.

Friends of the Dulmage family are now figuring out how they will help harvest the crops in the wake of Dulmage’s sudden death, according to The Associated Press.

“It’s hard to grasp and understand why something like this can happen in rural North Dakota,” said Daryl Lies, the state’s Farm Bureau president.

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