Since the announcement last week that skeletal remains found in Barron in December 2017 are those of a missing 63-year-old Minnesota man, the case continues to be an active homicide investigation, Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Monday, June 29, 2020.
Thanks to the combined work of forensic scientists in three states and the nonprofit DNA Doe Project, the remains were identified as 63-year-old New Prague, Minn., area resident Gary Herbst.
Information from the investigation shows that Herbst went missing several years ago – possibly as early as 2013 or 2014 – and that he was the victim of an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Fitzgerald said that Detective Jeff Nelson was in the New Prague area Monday, June 29, following up on the investigation.
The case is not believed connected in any way to the remains of a White Bear Lake, Minn., man, whose remains were discovered in September 1982, in a wooded area near Wisconsin Hwy. 25 near Ridgeland.
A party of loggers found the remains, which remained unidentified until the DNA Doe project positively identified them as belonging to Kraig King, of White Bear Lake, who disappeared in spring 1982, according to news accounts.
In January 2020, the investigation showed King had also been the victim of a homicide, the cause of death being stab wound to the chest.
“The (Kraig King) case is pretty much at a dead end,” Fitzgerald said Monday. “The only connection between it and the (Gary Herbst) investigation was the role played by DNA Doe Project.”