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Shooting death of Little Falls deer hunter remains a mystery

November 7, 2018

Two years after a 16-year-old boy found his father shot to death near their central Minnesota hunting blind, a family is desperate to know who killed Terry Brisk.

“I’m 81 years old, and in another few years, I’ll be gone and I won’t know who did this,” Virgil Brisk said Tuesday on the eve of the anniversary of his son’s death.

He and his wife no longer take vacations, fearing they might miss news about a break in the case. “We’re always waiting for a call from the sheriff,” he said.

Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen frequently calls members of the family to let them know that investigators are still working the case. But he said Tuesday that there is little he can tell them because authorities don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.

“Initially we had a few leads, but it certainly has dwindled down,” Larsen said. “It’s still very active, and there are things going on every single week.”

It was in November 2016 when Terry Brisk, 41, shot two bucks during the opening weekend of deer season. On that Monday — Nov. 7 — he returned to a family hunting spot on land where his parents operate a gravel pit in Belle Prairie Township.

Virgil Brisk and his wife had stopped at the gravel pit that afternoon and noticed their son’s pickup truck. That wasn’t unusual during the hunting season, “so we didn’t pay too much mind to that,” Virgil Brisk said. Two hours later, they learned he was dead.

Terry Brisk’s teenage son, John, had gone to the hunting spot after school to join his father, Virgil Brisk said. He looked around but didn’t see him. Sitting in a blind, he sent texts to his dad and called, Virgil Brisk said. Hearing his father’s phone ring, the boy followed the sound and found his father on the ground. His Winchester .30-30 — a rifle he wouldn’t be without — was missing.

At first the family believed Terry Brisk died in a hunting accident. But within weeks, his death was being investigated as a homicide. Brisk had been shot with his own rifle, which investigators eventually found the next spring. But authorities are saying little else, including whether Brisk was shot more than once or where the Winchester was found.

“After two years we would like to know what took place,” Virgil Brisk said.

Did his son encounter a trespasser?, Virgil Brisk wondered out loud. “Or, maybe it was someone who knew him quite well,” he said. Few people would have known that his son had taken off work that day and was hunting there, he explained.

Randy Brisk said his younger brother was outgoing and loved to talk to people. He said Tuesday that a sense of emptiness frequently overtakes him — sometimes when a certain song pops up on the radio or at this time of year, the start of hunting season.

Randy Brisk holds onto hope that there will be answers soon.

“Each month goes along and you think maybe today they’ll find something out,” he said.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office said it “will continue to prioritize this case until the person responsible is brought to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 320-632-9233. A $30,000 reward from local donors is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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