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By Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications Co., Published January 21 2010

Charges possible in death of teen found lying in snow

Criminal charges are possible in the investigation of the death of a teenager over the weekend near Shevlin, Minn., about 24 miles east of Bemidji on U.S. Highway 2.

Jared “Bubbs” Gilbertson, 15, was found by his father, unresponsive and lying in the snow in the woods outside his rural home near Shevlin about 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

He had been drinking at a party with classmates the night before in another rural home nearby and friends dropped him off at his home about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, said Clearwater County Attorney Jeanine Brand.

Emergency responders tried to resuscitate Gilbertson. He was taken to the Clearwater County Memorial Hospital in Bagley, and then airlifted to MeritCare in Fargo, where he was declared dead Saturday night, Brand said.

Gilbertson’s body is in the medical examiner’s office in Hibbing, where an autopsy’s results should tell the cause of death, whether it was exposure, alcohol poisoning or something else, Brand said.

Gilbertson’s funeral is at 11 a.m. today in the Floodwood Assembly of God Church, with visitation for an hour before the service.

Determining how Gilbertson obtained the alcohol could lead to criminal charges, Brand said. There were at least four or five students at the party, “and we heard there were more,” Brand said.

Two adults – one of them a parent of one of the young people – were also at the home where the party took place, Brand said.

She doesn’t know how much the adults knew about the party going on. State law prohibits adults from furnishing alcoholic beverages to under-age drinkers.

Stephen J. Lee is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.