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Drowning Takes Couple’s Third Child

August 24, 2001

GONVICK, Minn. (AP) _ A couple’s 3-year-old son drowned in a northwestern Minnesota lake _ the same lake where the couple’s small daughter and son drowned in 1998.

``It was an absolutely unbelievable, tragic coincidence, an awful case of deja vu,″ Clearwater County Undersheriff Lyle Colligan said.

Arne and Carol Kleppe had adopted their son Alex from Russia after their other two children, 4-year-old Arla and her 2-year-old brother, Anders, drowned in Six Lake in November 1998. The lake is near a farm owned by the children’s grandmother.

Alex drowned in the same lake Sunday. The parents told investigators he disappeared while playing with the family dog as his parents milked cows.

``The boy liked to hang on to the dog’s fur and be dragged,″ Colligan said. ``It’s sort of our belief that he may have let the dog drag him into deep water.″

Colligan said Friday that the investigation was closed unless authorities obtain new information.

``Obviously, the first thing you’re trained to watch for in our business is foul play or negligence,″ he said earlier. ``But we’ve done a very thorough investigation, and we aren’t seeing anything other than a horrible repeat of an awful tragedy.″

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