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Police: Grand Forks husband apparently shot wife then himself

Police say the evidence gathered at a Grand Forks home where officers found a woman severely injured and her husband dead points to one scenario: an attempted murder and a suicide.

Grand Forks investigation
Grand Forks police officers investigate the scene Tuesday at the corner of 12th Avenue South and South 15th Street. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.

Police say the evidence gathered at a Grand Forks home where officers found a woman severely injured and her husband dead points to one scenario: an attempted murder and a suicide.

It appears Lyle W. Cordts shot his wife, Julie Rae Cordts, once in the head with a .22-caliber handgun and then killed himself with the gun Tuesday morning, Grand Forks Police Lt. Rahn Farder said.

"There's no other evidence to indicate that it happened any other way," Farder said.

Police went to the couple's home at 1502 12th Ave. S. about 10 a.m. Tuesday after concerned relatives reported that Lyle Cordts, 50, had missed a court date and Julie Cordts, 47, had not shown for work.

Officers entered the single-story home through an unlocked door and found Lyle Cordts lying dead on a bed in a bedroom; they found Julie Cordts unconscious on the floor of the room, police said.

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Julie Cordts was taken by ambulance Tuesday to Altru Hospital, which has not released information on her condition. Preliminary autopsy results for Lyle Cordts show he died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Farder said those results jibe with investigators' findings so far, and that a final autopsy report is expected in a week or so.

In general, Farder said, an autopsy can provide information about gunshot wounds, particularly how close a gun was to a person when it was fired.

In addition to the preliminary autopsy results, Farder said, investigators considered the positions of the couple, blood patterns at the scene, as well as an examination of the gun, in making their finding. Again speaking generally, he said, an examination of a gun used in a close-range shooting can reveal the distance between the weapon and the person injured.

Investigators found two spent casings and the gun in the bedroom. The casings were consistent with the gun, and all three pieces of evidence were consistent with the couple's wounds, Farder said.

Judging by the condition of Lyle Cordt's body, Farder said, investigators deduced that it's likely he shot his wife and killed himself a few hours before officers arrived. No suicide note has been found, he said.

No neighbors, not even a man who lived in the unit attached to the Cordt's home, reported hearing gunshots. In a case like this, that's not unusual, Farder said.

"We've run into several situations where shots have been fired in a house and somebody outside doesn't hear it, especially shots that are fired in close contact with an object," he said.

Police and court records show that the couple had a history of domestic violence. Farder said police have been interviewing relatives and friends of the couple as part of the investigation.

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The department continues to investigate the shootings and urges anyone with information about the incident to call (701) 787-8000.

Reach Ingersoll at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to aingersoll@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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