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Emily Welker, Published November 24 2013

Six months later, no breaks in Moorhead slaying case

MOORHEAD – A little more than six months after Henry “Hank” Volochenko was found dead in his home here, police are still searching for evidence that will lead them to the killer.

“We haven’t had the break in the case we would hope for,” said Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson.

On the night of June 19, police were called to the house the 87-year-old owned at 1209 Main Ave. on a call for a medical assist. He was found dead inside.

Little information about the slaying has been released. Police have said his death was caused by injuries that appear to be the result of an assault.

The lack of a break in the case so far isn’t for lack of items to be tested by the state crime lab. Volochenko was well-known for picking up numerous items and collecting them in his Main Avenue home.

Nor is the issue a lack of cooperation on the part of witnesses, Jacobson said.

Volochenko was known in the area, which is near a Moorhead homeless shelter, for being hospitable to down-on-their-luck guests at his home.

Many people who knew him and who were frequently in and out of his home have been willing to step forward and provide DNA evidence on a voluntary basis in what Jacobson called a “high level of cooperation.”

Those DNA samples, and the many objects left in Volochenko’s home, have been going back and forth from testing at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crime lab as investigators work to determine what sort of insight they can provide into the crime.

“We are always going to be adding to the case file,” said Jacobson, the Police Department’s spokesman. “It’s just getting that right piece of info.”

Complicating the case for investigators as they sort through items in the home is figuring out which items belonged there when Volochenko was still alive, though Jacobson said it’s not a question of too much evidence hampering the investigation.

Two days after his body was discovered, police did seek the public’s help in locating a black walking cane that was missing from Volochenko’s home. Despite the public plea, the cane is still missing.

Though area police agencies solve most homicides quickly, Jacobson said the time elapsed since the killing can also work in the favor of investigators, as “anyone familiar with this case certainly has a large burden that they’re bearing.”

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