FARGO, N.D. – The family of a Montana man who was found dead near Devils Lake three years ago is asking the FBI to investigate whether convicted sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III might be a suspect.
Duncan, 42, who was living in Fargo when Russell Turcotte disappeared, is charged with killing three members of an Idaho family so he could abduct two children for sex. Duncan has pleaded not guilty in the killings. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Turcotte, of Wolf Point, Mont., was 19 when he disappeared in July 2002. He called his mother from Grand Forks, and she promised to wire him money so he could take the bus home. His body was found in a tree grove along U.S. Highway 2 near Devils Lake the following November.
His father, Bill Turcotte, said his son had been in Fargo the day before he disappeared. He also said Russell Turcotte appeared younger than his actual age.
“Russell did have a real boyish appearance about him,” Bill Turcotte said. “He was a young man, but if you take a look at the last picture of him, he did appear to be a little boy.”
FBI Special Agent Brent Robbins declined to comment on the Turcotte family’s request, citing the ongoing investigation.
Bill Turcotte said the request is a long shot, but the family wants to do something.
“Mr. Duncan was in Fargo … my son was in Fargo,” he said.
“There’s just some coincidences that need to be explained before I’ll relax.”
At the time of his July arrest in Idaho, Duncan was a fugitive charged with molesting a 6-year-old boy in Minnesota.
Law enforcement agencies across the nation have been examining unsolved child slayings for a connection to Duncan.