Nearby town shaken after four die in murder-suicide in northeast North Dakota

Local farmers are coming together to help harvest the fields owned by those involved in the incident.

083122 TownerCountyHomicide3.jpg
Towner County Sheriff Andrew Hillier, who's been with the Sheriff's office since 2004, has never seen an incident like the one Monday, August 29, 2022, in a wheat field south of Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

TOWNER COUNTY, N.D. — Residents in a rural northeast North Dakota are shaken after a murder-suicide at a nearby farm left four people dead on Monday, Aug. 29.

Several residents the Herald spoke to didn’t want to go on the record about the incident as they’re still wrapping their minds around it, but said their thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of those involved. Local farmers are coming together to help harvest the fields owned by those involved in the incident.

093122 TownerCountyHomicides.jpg
A shattered window on the cab of a John Deere combine is seen at the site of where four people were killed in a reported murder-suicide in Towner County.

Towner County Sheriff Andy Hillier said his department has never had to deal with anything like this before.

“This is the first,” said Hillier, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 2004.

The shooting happened on a farm west of Maza, North Dakota, on Monday, Aug. 29.


Deputies were dispatched around 6 p.m. Monday to a wheat field on the 6100 block of 66th Street Northeast for a report of four unresponsive individuals. Upon arrival, authorities located four bodies with gunshot wounds, the department said in a news release Tuesday.

The release said evidence from the scene indicates the incident was a murder-suicide. A firearm was located in the possession of one of the bodies. Hillier told Forum News Service that it is believed the four worked together.

Names of those involved are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be released at a later time, the release said.

The motive behind the shooting is still under investigation, Hillier said.

Farm equipment — some with bullet holes — remained on the scene during the day, but Hillier said all evidence has been processed and it'll be up to the family to decide what to do with the equipment next.

“It’s a very large scene,” he said.

083122 TownerCountyHomicides2.jpg
Harvest equipment remains on scene in Towner County at the site of where four people were killed in a reported murder-suicide.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and other local law enforcement agencies assisted deputies from Towner County in the investigation. There is no known threat to the public, Hillier said.

On Monday evening, the Towner County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook — at approximately 8:30 — that deputies and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation were investigating a crime scene.


Maza, North Dakota, was a tiny town in southwest Towner County, just northwest of Devils Lake. According to Grand Forks Herald archives, the town was dissolved in 2002 when its population was five.

Other nearby towns include Cando to the north, as well as Niles and Leeds to the southwest. It's just northwest of Devils Lake, and about 117 miles west-northwest of Grand Forks.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
What to read next
Investigators said they found no immediate threat to public safety after a photo warned students against attending school.
Investigators found that Google was recording the movements of customers even when users explicitly asked not to be tracked. The "deceptive" practice amounted to a consumer protection issue, Attorney General Drew Wrigley said.
'Clinker' found on the engine block of Michele 'Shelly' Julson's abandoned car in 1994 may be linked to an early sighting in rural Burleigh County, North Dakota, the Dakota Spotlight true crime podcast reports.
Solicitor General Matthew Sagsveen told the North Dakota Supreme Court that Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick "misconstrued the law" in blocking the abortion ban.