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40-year-old cold case closed as Grand Forks Police Department continues working on others

The GFPD currently has five cold cases, ranging from 2019 all the way back to 1987.

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GRAND FORKS — The case of Dolly Arnold, a 65-year-old woman who was killed during a fatal hit and run on Dec. 23, 1981, was closed last summer.

Arnold was hit in Grand Forks on North Third Street near the Ryan House, where she was a resident. An autopsy showed Arnold was "struck or run over and died instantaneously from multiple head and chest injuries."

Arnold’s case is one of the five cold cases the GFPD was working on as of last year. Every year, GFPD investigators revisit cold cases to see if any new evidence has been presented. Police Lt. Jeremy Moe said each case is assigned to an investigator who is in charge of reviewing them for any updates.

“That new information gets assigned to them and they follow up like they would normally do on any other case,” Moe said.

While there were witnesses that reported speaking with Arnold before the incident occurred at around shortly after 7 a.m. that day back in 1981, no one reported seeing a vehicle hit Arnold on the street. Several people were interviewed by police after the incident, including a city bus driver who was driving nearby and a witness who found Arnold’s body.

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The bus driver, who has since died and was never charged, has been listed as the main suspect. In his interview with police after the incident, the bus driver admitted seeing an older woman crossing behind his bus on North Third Street, but said the only way his bus could have struck someone was if they had gotten “tangled up with the back wheels, some way.”

The autopsy report also stated there was a "possibility of (Arnold) walking into or being struck by a heavy dual wheeled vehicle with (the) individual falling anterior to and being passed over by rear wheels.” The police report indicates that it is unclear whether the bus driver would have even known that his bus struck Arnold, if that was the case.

While the forensic technology today could help crack a cold case from decades ago, Moe said there are limitations.

“Some of the cases that we have, we have sent all those samples or biologicals to the lab so there’s no further testing that we can do with some of these cases unless something new that we don’t currently have access to becomes available,” Moe said. “That’s one of the things that we’re always constantly reviewing. Is there new technology or something that evidence can again be reviewed for some of these cases? That’s part of that annual review.”

Moe said once a case is designated as a cold case, it will stay "cold" until solved.

READ MORE GRAND FORKS POLICE NEWS
According to a news release from the GFPD, these four failures had a citation issued to the clerk that sold the tobacco product.

Since 2021 another cold case has been added, this one more recent. The fatal hit-and-run that killed 39-year-old Christina Lynn Melvin, a resident of Bedford, Pennsylvania, in 2019 is actively under investigation. Melvin was passing through Grand Forks via Amtrak when the incident occurred. Investigators interviewed several witnesses who saw Melvin walking in the area.

The other cold cases date back a couple of decades . They include:

  • Annie Korynta , a 19-year-old who was stabbed to death inside her apartment in 1987.
  • Karla Kilmer, a 20-year-old who was found dead in the Red River in June 1990. Autopsy revealed she had been beaten prior to ending up in the river.
  • Mary Tepe, a 42-year-old who was killed in a hit-and-run on Nov. 21, 1992. The incident happened at the intersection of 11th Avenue North and North Washington Street.
  • Kristi Nikle , a 19-year-old who was reported missing in October 1996.
Related Topics: GRAND FORKS POLICE
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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