Dreams Of Dru
Bonnie M. Wells
This story is part of the Without A Trace Series, and can be found in # 23 of the Pure Coincidence Book Series:
Clue words will appear in this color:
What's The Odds?
I didn't know Dru Sjodin, never heard her name until she disappeared from a North Dakota shopping mall on November 22nd, 2003.
Of the millions of people who lived west of the Ohio River, there were only two that I worked "homicide and disappearance" cases with. What would the odds be that both would be indirectly involved in Dru Sjodin's case?
Sounded like pretty astronomical odds to me .... but that's exactly what happened!
I'd met Bob W. months ago, via the computer and our common interest in unsolved cases. Shortly after I met him along came Jim and I began talking to him about some of the disappearances across our nation.
Jim F. was retired and living in North Dakota , while Bob worked security with several companies, one of which was Victoria's Secret.
And the next thing I knew the entire nation was searching for 22 year old Dru Sjodin who worked for Victoria's Secret, and who had disappeared from a parking lot of a North Dakota shopping mall.
Me? Well, it appeared to me that I'd been receiving warning dreams "before" Dru Sjodin disappeared. Question was .... could I help find her after she disappeared, and would the dreams help identify the person or persons responsible for her disappearance? Only time would tell .... and then there was always that one nagging question ..... would anyone even listen if I tried to help them? We'd see.
In The News
Name: Dru Sjodin
Height: 5' 5" Weight: 130 pounds
Hair: Frosted Blond
Last seen November 22, 2003 in Grand Forks, North Dakota wearing black slacks, black loafers, a pink and purple blouse, black blazer-style jacket and a small black handbag:
Bits & Pieces Of Information
From Various Sources:
Sjodin left work at Victoria's Secret in Columbia Mall at 4 p.m. Saturday; she spent nearly an hour shopping in the mall, finishing in Marshall Fields about 5 p.m., Hedlund said. While in that store, Sjodin began a 10-minute cell-phone conversation with her boyfriend, who lives in the Twin Cities area. While talking to him, she walked out of the mall and to her car. The conversation ended abruptly, the boyfriend told police, when Sjodin exclaimed, "Oh my God" or "Oh no," and the call disconnected.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, the boyfriend called Sjodin's roommate in the student apartment she shared on UND's campus to express concern about her welfare.
About 7:40 p.m. Saturday, Sjodin's boyfriend received another call from her cell phone, but there was no voice on the other end, and the call quickly was disconnected. That call came, according to Sprint telephone officials, from within a three- to four-mile radius of the tower near Fisher, Grand Forks Police Lt. Dennis Eggebraaten said.
Investigators don't think Sjodin necessarily is near Fisher, said Grand Forks Police Sgt. Michael Hedlund.
But her cell phone gave off a signal locating it within about five miles of the tower near Fisher from about 8 p.m. Saturday until the signal faded away 24 hours later, he said.
"It could have been someone driving down the road and throwing the cell phone out the car window," Hedlund said. "We don't know she has been there - we know the cell phone has been there."
Meanwhile, when Sjodin's college roommate learned that the always-reliable Sjodin did not show up for her 9 p.m. shift at the El Roco, the roommate knew something was wrong and called UND Police to report her missing.
Sjodin's hometown - Pequot Lakes, Minn:
Father, Allan Sjodin:
Mother, Linda Walker, said Dru planned to graduate next year in graphic arts.
No witnesses to her apparent abduction have come forward, but police have received more than 30 calls offering information or leads, Hedlund said.
At least one item known to have been purchased by Sjodin at Marshall Fields was missing from the car, he said, but he wouldn't elaborate. No blood was found in the car, but other evidence in the car indicated she may have been abducted, Eggebraaten said.
By Ground And Air
The intensive hunt began Monday morning from the air with UND planes and three Border Patrol helicopters and moved quickly to a ground search, which included a seven or eight -mile radius around Fishers Landing.
An officer on foot and a member of the Polk County Posse walked a bloodhound near the water and woods at Fishers Landing, about 10 miles east of East Grand Forks, at the beginning of the search. When no trail was found, the officer moved to Ross Seed, a mile or two east of Fishers Landing, where a continuous line of police vehicles pulled in and began organizing a search.
Where cars couldn't maneuver, ATVs took over, with drivers in blaze orange vests running the vehicles up and down ditches along U.S. Highway 2 and along farm fields.
Adam Schutz, 23, a UND student who told The Associated Press he had dated Sjodin about three years, planned to search today.
David Sutfin, Sjodin's uncle, said an unnamed "private benefactor," added $20,000 to the $20,000 reward the family already had offered for information leading to her safe return.
He said family and friends and especially Sjodin's parents, Linda Walker and Allan Sjodin, appreciate the concern of those searching for their daughter.
A Suspect Is Named & Arrested
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr
Via Minneapolis Star and Tribune on 12/05/03
A law enforcement source close to the investigation confirmed that a knife sheath was found in the mall parking lot where Sjodin was abducted while talking on a cell phone. "There was a sheath," the source said. "Whether it was connected to him will be determined later. It's been placed into evidence. Initially we thought it was more like a multitool," but upon examination it appeared to belong to a specific type of knife.
Via Saint Paul Pioneer Press on 12/05/03
Bloodstains matching Dru Sjodin's blood type were found in the car that police say was used by Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. to abduct her, the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting today. The Pioneer Press reported that "sources close to the investigation," said the blood was found in the maroon 2002 Mercury Sable Rodriguez bought at a Grand Forks dealership in June. Sources in Grand Forks, including Police Chief John Packett and State's Attorney Peter Welte, would not comment on the report when told of it Thursday night. The reported blood stains are the first major piece of physical evidence revealed by sources close to the investigation that would link Rodriguez to Sjodin.
Cops Warned Before N.D. Student Vanished
Sun Dec 7, 2003
CROOKSTON, Minn. - The sister of the suspect in the case of a missing University of North Dakota student pleaded with a local police officer to keep tabs on her brother after his release from prison in May because she feared he might strike again.
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, has been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Dru Sjodin, 22. The student has been missing since Nov. 22, when police believe she was abducted from a mall parking lot in Grand Forks, N.D.
Rodriguez's sister, Ileana, called Sgt. Gerry Moreno several times following her brother's completion of a 23-year prison term for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman. She asked Moreno to keep her brother, who had previously pleaded guilty to rape, locked up or away from the community.
Moreno told The Forum of Fargo, N.D., that he wasn't in a position to help her.
"Once a person does their time, they have no ties to probation," Moreno said in Sunday's edition of the newspaper.
Ileana Rodriguez turned to the 26-year police veteran, because they grew up together in Crookston. Moreno also went to the same elementary school as Alfonso Rodriguez, and as children they would play together, he said.
When they were children, "there was nothing unusual that made me think he was a weirdo," Moreno said.
Investigators in the Sjodin case have put their two-state physical search for her on indefinite hold and were trying to piece together clues on her whereabouts.
Alfonso Rodriguez faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 4, and arraignment on Feb. 6.
Knife, Blood Found in Sjodin Suspect Car
December 8th, 2003:
By DAVE KOLPACK and CURT WOODWARD, Associated Press Writers
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A knife and blood matching Dru Sjodin's type were found in the car belonging to the man accused of kidnapping the University of North Dakota student, a source told The Associated Press on Monday.
The source close to the investigation told the AP about the knife discovery in the car's trunk and also confirmed earlier media reports about the blood and a knife sheath being found in the parking lot of the mall where Sjodin disappeared.
Sjodin, 22, of Pequot Lakes, Minn., was last heard talking to her boyfriend on a cell phone on Nov. 22 after she left her job at a Victoria's Secret at the Grand Forks mall.
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, has been charged with kidnapping Sjodin. Evidence in the case, which was sealed by a judge after Rodriguez's arrest, should be released on Tuesday, the source said.
Rodriguez's maroon, four-door 2002 Mercury Sable was impounded by authorities before his Dec. 1 arrest in Crookston, Minn.
David Dusek, Rodriguez's public defender, has said that his client said he had nothing to do with Sjodin's disappearance.
Rodriguez was interviewed by authorities last week, but has since declined to speak with investigators.
Bail has been set at $5 million, but Rodriguez has chosen to stay in jail because of fears for his safety. He faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 4 and arraignment on Feb. 6.
Rodriguez is a convicted rapist who has a history of attempted kidnapping with adult women, and has used a weapon in at least one assault. He was registered as a predatory offender, the classification for those believed to be at the highest risk of committing another sex crime.
Rodriguez was released from a Minnesota prison in May after serving 23 years for an attempted abduction in 1979. Wayne Swanson, who prosecuted Rodriguez, said Rodriguez tried to abduct a woman off the street, and stabbed her when she fought back.
Meanwhile, investigators said they planned to expand their search for Sjodin to areas south of Grand Forks this week.
Police Capt. Mike Kirby said searches would continue until officials have firm reason to believe Sjodin is dead.
"We are committed to this. The family is out and we will be out," Kirby said.
Searchers Monday included Sjodin's uncle, who noted that volunteers also were pitching in.
"Some of the guys we don't even know," Lowell Sjodin said. "It's this part of the country, I think. Everyone just pulls together."
Page updated: November 2006 / Nov. 2007 // BMW