Heath Hotzler, Published December 26 2009
Finding Sjodin’s body top 2004 storyEditor’s note: As the start of the new decade approaches, it’s only fitting to reflect on the one now coming to a close. A lot has happened since the dawn of the year 2000. Each day through the end of this year, we’ll take you on a trip down memory lane and will look at what stories were making headlines in the Fargo-Moorhead area this past decade.
It was the day many dreaded.
A five-month search for 22-year-old University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin ended on April 17, 2004, when her body was found in a ravine northwest of Crookston, Minn.
The nightmare began the previous November, when a cell phone call from Sjodin to her boyfriend ended abruptly outside Columbia Mall in Grand Forks.
Police later arrested Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., a twice-convicted sex offender, in his Crookston home.
Rodriguez was found guilty in 2006 of killing Sjodin. Authorities said she had been raped, beaten and stabbed.
He was sentenced to death, and remains on death row.
In other stories that dominated the local landscape in 2004:
- Fargo North graduate Jason Reinhardt died in March at the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house across 10th Street South from Minnesota State University Moorhead from a fatal dose of alcohol consumed in an hour at a local bar on his 21st birthday.
- The Main Avenue bridge between Fargo and Moorhead reopened in November after 18 months of construction.
- The company that manages the Fargodome fired Paul Johnson in May and agreed to repay $75,000 the general manager advanced to promoters of a canceled Missy Elliott show. The dome lost $91,000 on the ill-fated show.
- North Dakota State University hosted Fargo’s first-ever Division I-AA football game in August. The Bison crushed Valparaiso (Ind.) 52-0 before 18,665 fans at the Fargodome.
On the national front:
- Former President Ronald Reagan died on June 5 at age 93.
- On Oct. 27, the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918 by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals.
- On March 5, television personality Martha Stewart was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to the government about a superbly timed stock sale.
- George W. Bush was elected to a second term on Nov. 2. He beat Democratic nominee John Kerry.
- Scott Peterson was convicted on Nov. 12 for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and the fetus she was carrying.
- In the headlines: President George W. Bush wins second term;
war in Iraq; terror attacks in Madrid; tsunamis
- Top box-office movie: “Shrek 2”
- Top TV show: “CSI”
- Hot song: “Yeah!” Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
- Super Bowl winner: New England Patriots
- Time magazine’s Person of the Year: George W. Bush
- Word of the Year: Blog
Sources: www.cnn.com, www.imdb.com, Nielsen Media Research, www.billboard.com, www.nfl.com, www.time.com, www.merriam-webster.com
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562