Grand Forks County John Does are six men who were killed by Eugene Butler and were found under his home in Niagara, North Dakota in 1915.

Case

The victims were discovered by a worker named Leo Verbulehn who was digging a cellar under the house of Eugene Butler. Their skulls were smashed, probably by a large instrument and two had their legs broken.

At first it was speculated the remains were of a family or Butler’s relatives, but those were ruled out. The remains belonged to young men; likely vagrant farmhands Butler hired. Butler, who owned the property since 1900, was institutionalized into the North Dakota State Hospital in 1906 after several mental breakdowns. He died in 1913, two years before the victims were discovered and never confessed to the murders. It is unknown why Butler murdered these men, but it is speculated he thought they were robbing him and got paranoid.

Since then it is speculated one of the victims might be a John Urbanski who disappeared near Niagara in 1902. However, many of the bones have been stolen during the excavation, likely by souvenir hunters and case records have since been either lost or destroyed.

In 2016, the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department reached out to the public in an effort to find new leads.

Characteristics

  • One of the victims had a crooked nose.
  • One of the victims was between 15 - 18 years old.

Sources

Footnotes

  1. They are described as "young men". This age range is stated based on the categories of this wiki.
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