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Five Dead in Minnesota Shooting Linked to Land Dispute

June 21, 1996

SAUK CENTRE, Minn. (AP) _ A dispute over a property line apparently led a man to shoot four members of the family next door and then kill himself, authorities said today.

Paul Crawford, 72, was found dead in his own yard Thursday night, and neighbors Warren Schloegl, 41, his wife, Marcella, 39, their daughter Jodi, 12, and son Eric, 11, died in or near their homes.

``In my 23 years as sheriff, this is the most dramatic and most senseless crime that I’ve seen,″ Sheriff David Kircher said this morning. ``It’s really a shame that disputes are settled this way. It’s such a waste.″

The victims lived in two of several houses along a highway near Big Sauk Lake in central Minnesota.

The mother’s and son’s bodies were found in their home; the father’s and daughter’s bodies were found in their yard. Another Schloegl daughter, Nicole, 16, was not at home.

Authorities believe Eric, the 11-year-old, placed the first 911 call.

A pistol and a rifle were recovered and will be tested to see if they were used in the shootings, Kircher said.

Crawford had his property surveyed and was blaming the Schloegls for removing one of the survey stakes, he said.

The shootings occurred only 15 to 20 minutes after a sheriff’s deputy talked to Crawford and the Schloegls about the dispute, Kircher said. There had been previous calls about the simmering conflict from both parties, he said.

The sheriff said his deputy felt he had calmed things before he left.

Crawford, who was divorced, lived alone. He moved into the home about a year ago from the Waite Park area near St. Cloud.

Todd County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said Crawford had contacted him recently to ask what he could do about the property dispute. He said Crawford had spent $300 to $400 on the survey, which was useless after the survey stake was removed.

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