UPDATE: No human remains recovered during dig at Wadena farm

“We know there are bodies here,” Elijah Hansen says.
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 2:39 PM CDT
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WADENA, Minn. (Valley News Live) - UPDATE: The man behind the dig, Elijah Hansen, says there were no human bones found during the dig.

Hansen says the Minnesota BCA says the bones they found were from an animal. “We moved a lot of dirt and still came up short from what I was expecting. The person with the cadaver dogs said that the scent was there but that they could not guarantee what shape the bones would be in. The cadaver dogs do not lie. I have theories as to what happened but no answers at this time. If we had sifted through everything, we might have been able to find some human bones, but such an operation is outside what I am capable of funding,” says Hansen. The group dug on Friday, Saturday & part of Sunday.

Hansen says there were a lot of people who came out to make the dig happen, and he is grateful for their help.

ORIGINAL STORY: After a Wadena farmstead was searched for human remains in 2015, family members are still looking for closure.

“We’re going to be digging up, hopefully, eight bodies here today that my grandparents, dad and uncles murdered over the years,” Elijah Hansen says.

For more than 20 years, Hansen has believed that his family members are responsible for the deaths of at least eight people.

He’s trying to prove it and on Friday, a group joined him to dig for answers.

“We know there are bodies here,” Hansen says.

In 2015, authorities came to the 160 acre farm with a search warrant. Neither Wadena County nor the BCA would offer any other details.

However, Hansen suspects investigators were looking for remains belonging to Carla Anderson, who was 23 in 1987 when she disappeared. Anderson was last seen at her Wadena apartment house. Extensive searches in and around town turned up nothing.

Hansen isn’t the only one still holding out hope.

“It’s a very big day for me and my sister,” Hansen added. “Hopefully it’s a very big day for the people that are still looking for answers.”

Hansen is talking about people like Roy Rusness, whose loved ones went missing in 1976, just 30 miles away.

“Elijah has been in contact, wanting to come out. He’s mentioned to me that there are bodies out here,” Chuck Lane says. “I don’t believe it to this day.”

Lane bought the property two years ago, not knowing its history. He says Hansen approached him about bringing cadaver dogs in.

Lane says the two agreed that if the dogs hit, Hansen could search the property. The dogs hit eight times.

“I want closure for Elijah and his family. I want closure to be able to move on and hunt on my property,” Lane says. “If for some reason I’m wrong and they do find bodies, I want closure for families.”

After several hours of digging, bone fragments turned up. However, that doesn’t mean they’re human. The farm used to be home to a zoo.

As the clock ticks on Hansen’s time to dig, he stands firm in his belief.

“If we can’t prove it, that still leaves things undone,” Hansen says.

“I’ve met the family who lived here years ago. They’re very good, nice people,” Lane says. “I just have a hard time buying that there’s bodies out here.”