Osakis woman killed during home burglaryDiane Fortenberry walked in on a burglary in her rural Osakis home, was assaulted and killed
By: Amy Chaffins, The Osakis Review
An Osakis woman was killed in her rural home Friday and no arrests have been made in connection to the homicide.
On Friday, May 20, after her lunch break, Diane Fortenberry, 51, returned home and interrupted a burglary at her home, authorities said. She was assaulted and died from blunt force trauma injuries, according to preliminary autopsy results.
Fortenberry’s son found her when he returned home around 4:40 p.m. on Friday. She was transported to Long Prairie Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The Fortenberry home is located along County Road 10, on the northwest side of Lake Osakis in Gordon Township in Todd County, just a quarter mile from the Douglas County line.
The house is in a new development called, “White Tail Ridge.” County Road 10 is a fairly busy road and the Fortenberry home is in an open field, close to the road.
Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson is asking for the community’s help in the case.
“We urge anyone in the area who may have seen anything unusual to contact us,” Mikkelson said. “We like to think this is a really safe community but with the situation the way that it is, we always need to be vigilant and aware of what’s going on around us.”
The sheriff said if anyone in the area has seen anything out of the ordinary during the last week, they should contact authorities.
“You know what’s normal in your neighborhood. If someone has come to your door asking for directions or offering tree cutting services or selling something, give us a call,” Mikkelson said.
If you have seen anything suspicious in the area or you have information related to this case, call the Todd County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 732-2157 or 1-800-794-5733.
In the meantime, the sheriff advises residents to be vigilant and report anything suspicious.
During a press conference Saturday, Mikkelson told reporters, “This is very concerning to our community. It’s a tragic event and our condolences go out to the family.”
Fortenberry is survived by her husband, Mike, and two sons.
Fortenberry grew up in the area and moved back to Osakis about three years ago.
Items taken in burglary
On Sunday, Sheriff Mikkelson released a detailed list of items taken from the home where Fortenberry was killed.
“We’re hoping citizens see someone with some of these items and contact us,” Mikkelson said.
The following items were taken in the burglary:
• A large amount of collector coins and currency including rolls of Susan B. Anthony and Eisenhower silver dollars, buffalo nickels, wheat pennies, indian head coins, $5 silver coins, $2 bills and silver C notes $100 bills;
• 32 inch Westinghouse flat screen TV;
• Vexilar depth finder;
• DVD player with surround sound;
• HP Pavillion laptop computer;
• Jewelry box containing a sapphire ring, ruby ring, Black Hills gold jewelry and Montana silver jewelry items; and
• Xbox video game system.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office are assisting with the investigation.
Memorial service Saturday
Memorial services for Diane Fortenberry will be held on Saturday, May 28 at 2 pm at the Osakis Public School auditorium in Osakis.
Visiting time with the family will begin Saturday at noon at the school.
Arrangements are by the Roy-Hetland Funeral Home in Osakis.
School offering counseling
One of the Fortenberry’s sons is a student at Osakis Public Schools. The school’s crisis team developed a statement to be read at the beginning of the day Monday to high school students in the classrooms and to be given to elementary students to take home to their parents. Students were informed that counselors would be available if needed.
In a statement sent out Monday, Osakis Schools Superintendent Gregg Allen said, “On behalf of the students and staff, our thoughts are with the Fortenberry family during this difficult time.”
Editor’s note: Throughout the week, the Osakis Review website will be updated with any more information about the May 20 homicide-burglary. Go to www.theosakisreview.com for updates.