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By Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co., Published November 20 2012

Deaths reverberate in Minto

MINTO, N.D. – Counselors spent Monday and Tuesday at Minto Public School, helping students cope with the weekend deaths of three children who, until this year, were their classmates.

Benjamin Schuster, 13, Julia Schuster, 10, Luke Schuster, 6, and their grandmother, 64-year-old Martha Johnson were killed Sunday in Johnson’s home in New Town, where the children had been living since September.

“They were marvelous kids, just kind and gentle kids,” said Superintendent Linda Lutovsky, who also is a school counselor.

A fourth child, who is 12, witnessed the shootings. The boy, police said, survived by playing dead, and then called 911. A fifth child was away from the home at the time.

The community is searching not just for answers, but for any kind of information about the tragedy, which occurred 300 miles away.

The Minto community also is waiting for word on funeral services and whether memorials or financial accounts will be established for the family.

The children’s parents, Kevin and Rebecca Schuster, are in the New Town and Minot area, talking with investigators, as well as spending time with their two surviving children, who are receiving counseling, according to Scott Schuster, Kevin’s cousin.

“It’s just a horrible deal,” Scott Schuster said. “(Kevin’s) the type of guy who holds his emotions in pretty well. His main concern now is the two surviving children.

“There’s going to be a service, probably next week. Hopefully, it will be in Warsaw.”


Kevin Bonham writes for the Grand Forks Herald