Kraig King

How did he get here?

A White Bear Lake man whose body was discovered near Ridgeland 38 years ago was suffering from mental problems and had “a couple of thousand dollars” in cash with him when he disappeared, family members told the White Bear Lake Press in a story appearing last week.

The body of Kraig King, a 1979 graduate of White Bear Lake High School, was found by loggers working in a wooded area near Wisconsin Hwy. 25 in September 1982. A forensic analysis by the DNA Doe Project determined his identity in an announcement released Jan. 7, 2020, by Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald.

The case had remained unsolved for parts of four decades until the DNA test, which was completed with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Depatment and half a dozen other agencies involved with DNA forensic research, Fitzgerald said.

In the White Bear Lake Press, it was reported that “the deceased was a white male, between 18 and 22 years old, weighing 180 to 195 pounds and was between 5 feet, 8 inches and 5 feet, 9 inches tall (with) brown hair and a husky build.”

The estimated time of death “was April to May 1982 and the manner of death was homicide. King had been stabbed in the chest,” the newspaper reported.

“The 1979 White Bear Lake High School grad suffered from mental illness, said his parents Judy and Paul King,” the story said. “They don’t know how or why their son was in western Wisconsin, but they knew he didn’t have a car and he was carrying a couple thousand dollars when he was last seen.”

A Press reporter spoke with Kraig King’s father, Paul, a retired White Bear Lake School District physical education teacher

“Kraig was so well liked,” Paul King said. “He was a hockey and golf athlete and an excellent student. He was very personable. He must have talked to the wrong people.”

It was difficult to learn about their son’s death, the Kings added.

“But friends have gathered around the couple to offer comfort,” the newspaper reported.

The Kings “are longtime members of St. Mary of the Lake Church, where a memorial Mass will be held once the remains are released to the family,” the newspaper added.