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Cooperstown Trying to Cope after Heinous Crime - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Cooperstown Trying to Cope after Heinous Crime

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A small community is in shock following the gruesome murder of an NDSU researcher, Kurt Douglas Johnson. While authorities continue their investigation, most in the small town of Cooperstown are staying closed-mouth about the crime.

Kurt Douglas Johnson was last seen New Year's Eve. Witnesses tell the Griggs County Sheriff he left the Oasis Bar and got into Daniel Wacht's van. Wacht is charged with killing Johnson. Johnson's head was found in Wacht's basement with a bullet hole in the forehead.

People in Cooperstown are shocked. Most people in the town know and trust each other and they say they would never expect something like this to happen.

"I think this is like the first incident of a murder in--well, people can't even think of it--in a hundred years or so," Dave Sayer said. He, like most of the people in Cooperstown, knew Kurt Johnson, "He's a very nice guy, very smart, very friendly."

Sayer also worked with the alleged murderer at Sheyenne Tooling. He says people never would have suspected him capable of murder. "People are stunned, hurt, it just doesn't make sense, people don't understand why."

It has made it hard for some people in Cooperstown to trust they are really the close-knit community they have come to believe in.

"Well, you're not from separated from the world, things happen here too," Sayer said.

People say they believe Cooperstown will be a community of trust again, but right now, townspeople say there are just too many unanswered questions. Where is the body? Was there anyone else involved? Until more of this case is resolved they are unable to put it to rest.

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