LAKE WOBEGON, MN(AP)—Though local residents insist it has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, MN, their hometown out on the edge of the prairie, state police officials descended on the small community Tuesday when another 24 corpses surfaced along its placid waterfront.
In the last year, the viciously mutilated bodies of 57 Lake Wobegon citizens have been found in the lake. Nine of those discovered were members of the town's floundering baseball team, the Whippets, whose severed throwing arms were never discovered.
"The Wobegon Killer typically stalks his victims in the dead of night, murders them, and discards their hacked-up bodies in the water," Minnesota State Police chief Ron Taggard said. "We believe this same individual may also be responsible for the bombing of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility Church in July; brutally maiming local waitress Darlene with a meat cleaver; and force-feeding lutefisk to the owner of Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, Ralph, until his stomach burst."
Added Taggard, "We're dealing with a madman here."
According to officials, the bodies were discovered when hundreds gathered to watch Mr. Berge's 1949 maroon Pontiac sink into the thawing lake as part of the annual Sons of Knute Ice Melt contest. As the car submerged, onlookers witnessed a number of purplish- looking corpses float to the surface, most of them decapitated.
"Last time I saw a crime this bad was a couple weeks ago at the Chatterbox [Café], when Dorothy ran out of rhubarb pie," lifelong Lake Wobegon resident Daryl Tollerud told reporters. "Huh, the high school choir's gonna have some trouble getting its April concert together if that's Miss Falconer's head bobbing up and down out there."
Other corpses that have been positively identified include former Lake Wobegon High School football coach Mr. Margadant; 87-year-old Myrtle Krebsbach, whose husband joked that it was the only way we could get rid of her; and Bunsen Motors co-owner Clarence Bunsen, who, according to autopsy reports, had his throat slashed with an ice skate before being chained to a large stone head with grass in its ear and sunk to the bottom of the lake.
While investigators are determined to find the murderer before he kills again, Lake Wobegon citizens have remained surprisingly calm.
"What's the use in complaining?" Irene Bunsen, Clarence's sister-in-law, told reporters. "It's like the cold weather. Everyone has to deal with it, so it's better to just keep quiet. And besides, maybe Pastor Inqvist and his wife deserved to die after they went to Florida for that one week in January while the rest of us sat here and froze."
"Pardon me, I have to check on my tomatoes," Bunsen added. "Set the record in '78 with a 25-ouncer, and I'm not going to stop trying to beat it because of a few grisly murders."
Immediately after the gruesome dredging, locals gathered at the town's watering hole, the Sidetrack Tap, to speculate as to who could be responsible for the killing spree. A group of Lutherans claimed the killer is most definitely Catholic, as evidenced by the fact that they saw him drive away in a Chevrolet. The town's Catholics said the murderer must be Lutheran, because they saw him drive off in a Ford.
"I'll bet it was Clint Bunsen," bar regular Mr. Hoppe said after ordering a beer and a bump. "He's still steamed he isn't chairman of the Fourth of July parade anymore, so he flew off the handle and started killing people. Even his own brother. I'm tellin' ya, it's the truth."
"I think it was the Tollefson boy, Johnny," an intoxicated Mr. Berge told reporters. "Big New York man, moved out of here as fast as he could and always thought he was too good for us. His father was a great man, though. Best grain elevator operator this town has ever seen. Here's to Byron Tollefson!"
While most maintain that Lake Wobegon c itizens are incapable of serious wrongdoing, law enforcement officials have uncovered new evidence indicating the killer could be a local.
"We do have one suspect: a Caucasian male in his mid to late 60s, who was last seen dressed in a dark suit, a red tie, red socks, and sneakers," Taggard said. "This deranged psychopath talks in a very breathy, slow cadence, and was overheard several weeks ago saying, 'I have to finish what I started. It's gotten out of control. All of them must die.'