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Emily Welker, Published June 21 2013

Moorhead police seek help finding cane of slain 87-year-old

MOORHEAD – Police here are asking for the public’s help in searching their property, particularly in the downtown area, for a missing cane in the apparent killing of 87-year-old Hank Volochenko.

Moorhead police Deputy Chief Shannon Monroe confirmed Friday that the body discovered by a friend at 1209 Main Ave. here Wednesday night is that of the elderly Volochenko, a man who friends and neighbors have said often opened his home to people who fell on hard times.

Police say preliminary autopsy results conducted on Henry “Hank” Andrew Volochenko’s body indicate he died from “trauma – by assaultive-type actions,” Lt. Tory Jacobson said, though he declined to specify the nature of the injuries.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Deputy Chief Shannon Monroe directed reporters’ attention to a photo of Volochenko, taken on Father’s Day. It shows the elderly victim seated on a scooter.

“(Other than that) he needs his cane when he’s moving about,” Monroe said. “It’s very strange that it’s missing.”

Jacobson showed reporters a black walking cane that he said was similar to the one Volochenko used.

Police wouldn’t say if they suspect the missing cane was used in the assault, but they did urge area residents to look through their property for the cane or “anything unusual, anything that doesn’t belong there,” Jacobson said.

Because the investigation is ongoing, Jacobson said, he couldn’t comment on the condition officers found Volochenko in when they arrived at his home about 9:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Jacobson said the elderly man’s home was so full of objects, it was difficult for police to tell if other items besides the cane might be missing.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is helping with the investigation and was still at the home Friday morning to process the crime scene.

By Friday afternoon, Jacobson said, police did not yet have any leads solid enough to bring any suspects into custody.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to call Moorhead police via the dispatch center at (701) 451-7660.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541