- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - Moorhead police released surveillance video Monday of a vehicle spotted near where the body of a slain North Dakota State University student was found, asking for the public’s help in a case with no known suspect or motive nearly five months later.

Authorities have received the final medical examiner’s report on Thomas Bearson’s death, but they spent little time discussing it during a news conference Monday. Instead, they focused on the dark-colored, four-door vehicle that spent a couple minutes in a parking lot next to recreational vehicle store in Moorhead the evening of Sept. 20. Bearson’s body was found in the RV lot on Sept. 23.

“We’re interested to know if this vehicle can be identified, even if it’s by the person that owns or was driving that vehicle,” said Moorhead Police Lt. Tory Jacobson. “We’re investigating leads. We’re trying to find all the answers that we can.”

Police say that Bearson, 18, died “as a result of homicidal violence,” but would not say Monday how he was killed.

Moorhead Police Lt. Brad Penas said investigators are reviewing the report of the Ramsey County medical examiner, but Penas would not elaborate on the findings. Asked about the toxicology results, Penas said only that Bearson did not die from a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning.

“The medical examiner’s report is very lengthy,” Penas said. “There’s information in it that we believe is relevant so we are communicating among all the agencies involved … unfortunately we can’t jeopardize the investigation and get into it.”

Penas said Bearson’s family is “up to speed” on the investigation, but they have not seen the final medical examiner’s report.

The FBI plans to develop a suspect profile based on specific details of the crime, Penas said.

Authorities had earlier asked for the public’s help to locate Bearson’s cellphone and a shoe and said Monday that those items have not been found. Police described the missing items as a white Nike Air Jordan left-foot tennis shoe, size 9 1/2, and a silver iPhone 5.

Police said Bearson had last been seen at a party in the early morning hours of Sept. 20 in Fargo, about six blocks from his dorm. Penas said Monday that the cause of death was not visibly obvious to investigators at the time Bearson’s body was discovered.

David Ebinger, the Moorhead police chief, said police are putting “a lot of resolution and a lot of resources” into the case.

“This is an act that disturbs us,” Ebinger said. “This is still one of the safest places to live or to send your kid to school in the country, and we intend to keep it that way.”


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