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Search of 1993 missing couple's backgrounds unveils telling details

In the latest episode of investigative true crime podcast Dakota Spotlight, James Wolner and Jeremy Fugleberg dig into the backgrounds of Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson, the couple who vanished from small North Dakota town in mid-August 1993, and find telling details.

Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson, May 1, 1993
Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson taking a stroll in the woods. May 1, 1993
Contributed / Anderson Family
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Listen to Episode 3 — 'Kristin Is Not Her Name'

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To understand who Kristin Diede was, there's this: Kristin was not her name.

She was born Valerie Goebel. Later she changed her name to Kristin, with a whole new last name. Then later when she got married, she changed it again.

There's a pattern of reinvention in her life, attempt to starting anew, that define who Kristin Diede was. And that pattern continued to drive her, right up until the day she and her boyfriend, Bob Anderson, drove from Minnesota to tiny Wishek, North Dakota, then vanished. They were last seen Aug. 15, 1993.

The disappearance of Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson are the focus of the latest season of Dakota Spotlight, an investigative true crime podcast from Forum Communications: "Vanishing Act: The Untold Story of Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson."

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The podcast's live investigation into this missing-persons case spanned North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and elsewhere.

In the latest episode of Dakota Spotlight, the podcast explores the childhood, families and backgrounds of the missing couple, and finds telling details.

Inside episode 3, 'Kristin Is Not Her Name'

Kristin was born Valerie Goebel in July of 1963.

She grew up on the Goebel family farm outside of Wishek in south-central North Dakota, the same agricultural town she and Bob traveled to the weekend they disappeared.

The town lies in McIntosh County, one of three counties that make up what is called the ‘Germans from Russia’ triangle.

After high school, she changed her name from Valerie Goebel to Kristin Joy Devilin.

She then changed her name again, her last name, when she married a neighbor — Clyde Diede, in 1983.

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Their son Mitchel was born the next year. Three years later they had a daughter, Deanna.

Eventually the young family moved to Bloomington, Minnesota, where Clyde enrolled in chiropractic school.

The move likely marked another big life adjustment for Kristin. But her relationship with Clyde turned sour, and they split up in fall 1992.

Not much later, she met Bob — Bob Anderson.

Bob was different from other men Kristin had known, likely a big reason she was drawn to him. He was born in 1961 and grew up in a stable, strict but supportive and loving household, the second of seven children.

He got married in 1987 and had two children with his wife, Pam — Chelsie and Chase. They divorced in 1992.

Bob was quiet and unassuming, but had a sense of humor and didn't take live too seriously, family members recall. He enjoyed beer, fishing, and working with his hands.

From the impressions he left, it seems he was an observer of life, a nurturer of animals and of people. Bob could spot a wounded creature a mile away.

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And a wounded creature is exactly what he found one evening when he decided to go to a bar in Minneapolis. It was there he met Kristin Diede, separated from her husband Clyde.

New people you'll meet in this episode

  • Brenda: Kristin's sister, who recalled her sister enjoying cards and other games.
  • Sherri: Kristin's niece, who explained that Kristin had grown estranged from the Goebel family.
  • Larry: Kristin's brother, who was in Wishek the weekend Kristin and Bob disappeared and remembers her as happy person but one who didn't talk much about her problems.
  • Betty: Kristin's mother, now deceased, who told James the family had no photos of Kristin.
  • Dean: Bob's brother, and the last Anderson family members to see him alive. He recalled a happy family, and a childhood growing up on a hobby farm.
  • Diane: Bob's sister, who shared numerous memories of her brother, and their family — including a father who promoted education and told her she could do what she aspired to do in life.
  • Debra: Bob's sister, who recalled how he was quiet and supportive, and how much she looked up to her big brother.

Photo gallery - Episode 3

People met in previous episodes

  • Tiffany: A neighbor of Kristin Diede in Bloomington, Minnesota. She and friend Heather befriended Kristin. Tiffany was the last person Kristin was known to have called before vanishing with her boyfriend, Bob.
  • Heather: A neighbor of Kristin in Bloomington, Minnesota. She and a friend, Tiffany, befriended Kristin, helped coax her out of her shell after her marriage to Clyde had collapsed, and were the first to report her missing to law enforcement.
  • Clyde: Kristin's estranged husband. They had married in 1983 and had two kids together, Mitchell and Deanna, ages 9 and 6, respectively, when Kristin vanished in August 1993. Three months prior, Clyde had been convicted of a 5th-degree domestic assault against Kristin, and had been issued a two-year no-contact order to keep him away from her.
  • Sandra: Kristin's sister. Sandra saw Kristin and spoke with her at their brother Larry's place before Sandra and other members of Kristin's immediate family left for a trip to Idaho on Saturday, Aug. 14, 1993 — the day before Kristin vanished.
  • Susan: Former executive director of Cornerstone, a domestic violence shelter in Minnesota, where Kristin sought help. Susan has been a steadfast advocate for Kristin's case.
  • Travis: Nephew of Kristin. He has made it his mission to better understand what might have happened to his aunt and her boyfriend in 1993.
  • Wes: Retired trooper of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, stationed in Wishek, North Dakota, on Aug. 15, 1993. Kristin and Bob visited Wes on that day, the day they disappeared, to ask about legal issues regarding Kristin, Clyde and their children before leaving for the Diede farm.
  • Chase: Son of Bob Anderson. Chase had long been told his dad had abandoned him, and had lived a troubled life with addiction and prison time. He later found out his dad actually hadn't abandoned him, but had instead vanished in 1993 and authorities believed he had been murdered.
  • Dan: Dan was a reporter at WCCO television in Minneapolis in 1995. He flew to Wishek, North Dakota, to pursue the missing persons case, was met with hostility from the Diede family and believes he was followed around town and back to the town's airstrip. He remains haunted by the experience.

    About Dakota Spotlight, Season Six: 'Vanishing Act: The Untold Story of Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson'

    In this season of Dakota Spotlight, the podcast tackles a live, multi-part investigation that spans multiple states including Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, with the host James Wolner and co-producer Jeremy Fugleberg trying to figure out what happened to Kristin Anderson and Bob Anderson, who vanished in North Dakota on Aug. 15, 1993.

    The duo works with Kristin and Bob's family members and friends to untangle why they went to North Dakota, what exactly took place on Aug. 15, 1993 — the last day they were seen and why the couple has never been found.

    The investigation reveals the painful holes ripped through people's lives when their loved ones disappear without a trace. The mystery of Diede and Anderson's disappearance continues to haunt many whose lives they touched.

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Wes and Linda Julson haven't yet given up on the hope of finding their daughter, Michelle "Shelly" Julson, who went missing from Bismarck on Aug. 2, 1994, they tell the Dakota Spotlight podcast, which is reinvestigating the cold case aided by the police file on Shelly's disappearance.

Related Topics: DAKOTA SPOTLIGHTTRUE CRIME
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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