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Published March 08 2012

Employer says slain Fargo woman was 'very good employee'

FARGO – A slain Fargo woman whose husband was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stabbing her to death was a “very good employee” who didn’t say anything negative about her husband in the brief time she worked at Fargo’s Elim Rehab & Care Center, a spokeswoman said today.

Kathye Deniger joined Elim as a certified nurse aide in mid-January and was still going through the orientation process, said Joyce Eisenbraun, Elim’s marketing director.

Nursing staff and managers who knew the 52-year-old Deniger said she provided “excellent care” to the facility’s residents, Eisenbraun said. Elim serves 136 residents with short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and memory care.

“She was a very quiet individual, but she worked well with others and was extremely pleasant,” Eisenbraun said. “She was a very good employee.”

Deniger’s last day of work at Elim was Feb. 28. She was scheduled to work the evening shift on March 1 but didn’t show up, Eisenbraun said.

Elim’s staffing coordinator and shift workers tried to reach Deniger, calling her phone number and the people on her emergency contact list, but couldn’t get in touch with her, Eisenbraun said.

A social service worker called Fargo police at 4:48 p.m. Tuesday to request a welfare check on Deniger. Police found her dead a short while later, apparently from multiple stab wounds, in her apartment at 2601 14th St. S., Chief Keith Ternes said.

Her husband, Henry Deniger, 49, who police say also hadn’t been seen for several days, was arrested around 7 p.m. Wednesday in a restaurant parking lot in St. Cloud, Minn. He’s being held at the Stearns County Jail pending extradition to Cass County.

Eisenbraun said Kathye Deniger was “just settling in and starting to open up and visit more freely” at work. While she may have talked about her husband, “She didn’t say anything particularly negative about him to anyone here at work, so we were not aware of any abuse issues or any personal issue like that that would have triggered any further action,” Eisenbraun said.

Elim staffers are grieving the loss, and the center has made counseling available to them, Eisenbraun said. The facility plans to hold a private prayer service in memory of Deniger, probably today, she said.

“This has not happened here (before), and so we’re really as stunned as anyone is and just grieving,” she said. “We’re going to miss her and we’ll continue to pray for the family.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528