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September 09, 2002 11:58 PM

Body Found And Arrests Made In Southwest Minnesota Murder


Click here to watch this story (Windows Media) Don't have Media Player? Click Here. Investigators have arrested two men in a Southwest Minnesota murder case. In jail are Dustin Allen Vaughn and Nicholas Jesse Barron. State detectives are in Montevideo, where Jeffrey Donald Barrett was last seen alive. Saturday, the 31-year old man was found dead in a Hanley Falls swimming hole. Investigators say Jeffrey Barrett was last seen at a party in Montevideo, August 29th. He was involved in a pushing and yelling match early in the evening, and then on Saturday, more than a week later, his body turned up at the bottom of Mark Oftedahl's flooded gravel pit. Just outside Hanley Falls, Minnesota is a quiet swimming hole. Area kids have been sneaking onto the Oftedahl family farm and into the flooded gravel pit, since Mark was a kid. "People have been swimming here for years," Oftedahl says. Officially, it's off limits, but a rope swing is evidence it's still a hot spot to keep cool in the summer. On Saturday a dozen kids were here when they saw something in the water. Oftedahl says, "The water's pretty murky. You can't see that deep." The kids found Oftedahl and brought him down to the pit. Oftedahl saw what he thought were feet floating just below the surface about 10 feet from shore. But he wasn't sure so he went in to check. "Finally got up enough nerve to grab, and got a hold of a pants leg," he says. In water over his head, Oftedahl pulled at the pants leg, but it didn't budge. "Even I wasn't convinced when I had a hold of the leg if it was a real human or an elaborate joke. You don't see too many dead people," Oftedahl says. Jeffrey Barrett's chest was tied to a heavy car part, weighing more than 100 pounds. Oftedahl needed help bringing the body to shore. He called the Sheriff and left. Monday's the first time he's been back to the pit. It looks the same, but he says everyone will see it differently now. "All of the kids said they aren't going to swim here anymore. After they found out they were swimming with a dead body," Oftedahl says. Oftedahl says he didn't know Barrett. He didn't recognize the car part, but says whoever killed Barrett could've taken it from his property. Oftedahl's brother collects car parts and stores them next to the pit.
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