Remembering Tom Bearson: Homicide in the US Today

Vigil held at NDSU for Tom Bearson.

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Vigil held at NDSU for Tom Bearson.

Many heard the story that traversed the news and media of Tom Bearson, an 18-year-old student at North Dakota State University. The young man, a native of Sartell, Minnesota, disappeared on Saturday, September 23rd. His body was discovered the following Tuesday in an industrial area in Moorhead, Minnesota. He was six miles away from his NDSU dorm.

According to the Star Tribune’s coverage of the story, Bearson had been a prominent player on the Sartell High School basketball team. The city of Sartell rallied together to support Bearson’s family, and more than a thousand people attended his vigil.

Very soon after the body was discovered, the crime was ruled a homicide. However, the police continue to withhold information about the crime from the media. According to WDAY news, this homicide is part of worrying trend in the Fargo-Moorhead Area. While there is an average of fewer than one homicide per year in the area, Bearson’s is number five in the past twelve months.

Little new evidence has come to light on the case since September. While it remains under investigation, the limited amount of evidence points to another trend.  An article on NBC News, “More in the US are Getting Away with Murder,” says that as the number of homicides per year in the US rises, (from 4,566 in 1963 to 14,811 in 2007), the percentage of solved murders has dropped (91 percent in 1963 to 61 percent in 2007). Law enforcement authorities relate the drop in resolved crimes to a hike in “impersonal crimes” such as drug or gang-related violence. Bearson’s death has affected the people of central Minnesota and the Fargo-Moorhead area, but it also calls attention to the issue of homicides throughout the nation.

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Picture above shows the vigil held at NDSU for Tom Bearson