1 body, 1 mystery and 42 years of unanswered questions

North Dakota's most macabre cold case is perhaps the gruesome murder of 21-year-old Billy Wolf, whose body was found floating in the Red River outside of Fargo in August of 1978. Billy's throat had been slashed and his body cut in half at the waist. Listen as the "Dakota Spotlight" podcast investigates this shocking crime and searches for answers.

Chasing Billy episode 5: Interview with cold case investigator Dan Baumann
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Listen to the fifth episode of "Chasing Billy: interview with Dan Baumann, the cold case investigator who wants to find answers.

(Or start with In "Chasing Billy: A Pursuit for Justice," Dakota Spotlight debuts episode 1 of a new season focused on unsolved 1978 murder Listen to Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast hosted by James Wolner of Forum Communications Co.
, Cold Case: The pursuit for justice continues: Listen to Episode 2 of "Chasing Billy" On a Sunday afternoon, late in the summer of 1978, the body of 21-year-old William Wolf Jr. was discovered in the Red River just north of Fargo-Moorhead. Dakota Spotlight and Forum Communications investigate.
, Is time running out? A case growing colder: Listen to Episode 3 of "Chasing Billy" On a Sunday afternoon, late in the summer of 1978, the body of 21-year-old William Wolf Jr. was discovered in the Red River just north of Fargo-Moorhead. Dakota Spotlight and Forum Communications investigate.
and Motels, mafias & stolen guns - who killed Billy? Listen to Episode 4 of "Chasing Billy: a pursuit for justice" William Wolf Jr. was violently murdered in the summer of 1978 near Fargo-Moorhead. In this episode, Dakota Spotlight and Forum Communications investigate two tips sent to us by listeners. Could 'Uncle Frank' or 'Bruce' have killed Billy Wolf?


So many years, so many questions.

The first question was probably, "Has anyone seen Billy?"

A few days after Billy Wolf disappeared, on a Sunday in August of 1978, a young man paddling his canoe in the Red River north of Fargo-Moorhead asked himself a different question: " What in the world is that?"

Perhaps the person (or persons) who killed 21-year-old Billy Wolf asked their own questions. " How did they find his body so quickly?" The killers had gone to the trouble of slashing Billy's throat, cutting his body in half and stuffing it into two plastic garbage bags. Then they tossed the bags into the Red River (or one of its tributaries). But the bags got caught up in tree branches and--much like the homicide investigation that would follow--never really got anywhere.

Since that day in 1978, the questions continue to pile up. "Who killed Billy?" "Why did they kill him?" "Will we ever solve this crime?"

dakota spotlight season 4 billy wolf case file
The case file for Billy Wolf's murder has been growing since 1978.


In the fifth episode of "Dakota Spotlight: Chasing Billy," host James Wolner interviews Dan Baumann, the investigator assigned to the Billy Wolf cold case.

Baumann is a former agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and he is currently aiding the Clay County, Minnesota sheriff’s office on a part-time basis. Baumann has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience having worked both in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Dakota Spotlight podcast talks with Baumann about the Billy Wolf case and what it might take to finally get it solved.

Retired investigator Dan Baumann hopes to solve the William Wolf Jr. cold case.

Do you have information about Billy Wolf's murder? Contact:
Dan Baumann at or (218)979-3412
Dakota Spotlight SEASON 4 TIP LINE: (701) 451-5608 or


RELATED Podcast homepage | Newsletter | Season 3 videos | Season 2: 1976 Zick murders |


James Wolner is a Digital Content Producer at Forum Communications Company, Fargo North Dakota and the creator, producer and host of Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast. He has lived the Upper Midwest since 2013 and studied photojournalism at California State University at Fresno. He is fluent in English and Swedish.
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